Charges filed against 17 for alleged Texas-St.Croix drug deals
When one thinks of the international drug trade, one may think of drugs coming from Mexico across the border into Texas, or perhaps opium being shipped from countries in Asia to the United States. One probably does not think of drugs being exported from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
According to multiple sources, a drug trafficking ring involving individuals in Duncanville, Texas, was responsible for regular shipments of marijuana to the island of St. Croix.
The police maintain that regular shipments, weighing about 12 pounds each, were sent from various locations in Arlington, to various locations in St. Croix. They further claim the capture of return shipments containing money orders adding up to nearly $400,000. The money orders were shipped to locations in Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington and Duncanville. The amount that was not captured is estimated to be much larger.
The individuals under arrest include 11 in North Texas, and six in St. Croix including a territorial marshal. The individuals have been charged with federal drug trafficking, punishable by up to 40 years in prison and conspiracy to commit money laundering, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The police report that the group has been under surveillance since 2009. One can assume that during that amount of time they have amassed a significant amount of data.
There are several issues which may arise in this case. Was all of the prosecution's evidence obtained according to procedure? If procedures were broken the evidence may not be allowed. Are all of the individuals involved, or involved at an equal level? With a large group it may be possible that some were unknowingly involved, or coerced.
As in any case, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and until then, each defendant is presumed innocent.
Source: Associated Press, "11 arrested in St. Croix in federal drug investigation targeting Texas-based organization," Jason Bronis, April 12, 2012
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "Feds Shut Down Major Drug Trafficking Operation," Domingo Ramirez Jr., April 12, 2012