Island Law Enforcement Officers Indicted
and Participating in Criminal Enterprises
JUN 24 -- (St. Thomas, USVI) - Javier F. Pena, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Caribbean Division and United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe, District of the Virgin Islands, announced today that a federal grand jury returned a 33-count indictment charging that, Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) Officers Enid Edwards and Francis Brooks, and Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) Officer Bill John-Baptiste, in their capacity as Virgin Islands law enforcement officers, engaged in illegal activities, including extortion, bribery, kidnapping, assault and battery, and illegal narcotics distribution on the island of St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. The indictment charges that Edwards and Brooks abused their positions of trust as police officers of the VIPD by engaging in illegal activities for the purpose of enriching themselves.
The indictment follows a long-term investigation conducted by a Federal Public Corruption Task Force. If convicted of the federal charges, Edwards, Brooks and John-Baptiste each face a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and $250,000 in fines. The defendants are also charged with violations of local Virgin Islands laws, which carry potential incarceration punishment of a year to life.
The indictment alleges that from 2000 until 2005, Edwards and Brooks in their capacity as VIPD officers, made numerous contacts with drug traffickers and required that the drug traffickers pay varying sums of cash money for various purposes, in exchange the drug traffickers would not be arrested or otherwise reported to law enforcement authorities. The indictment also alleges that Edwards and Brooks acquired and sold illegal narcotics to a local drug trafficker.
The indictment also alleges that in 2007, Edwards and Brooks, in their capacity as VIPD officers, forced a person to accompany them as they drove around the island of St. Thomas in a police vehicle. The person had to pay them for the return of the person’s vehicle, which Edwards and Brooks had caused to be towed.
The indictment further alleges that in 2008, John-Baptiste, in his capacity as a VIPA officer, physically assaulted and detained a person against the person’s will as Edwards and Brooks received cash in exchange for the person’s release from police custody. The indictment also charges John-Baptiste with aggravated assault and battery and unlawful sexual contact in relation to the incident.
The indictment also alleges that from 2008 until the date of the indictment, Edwards and Brooks made numerous contacts with an unlawful alien in the United States and required the alien to pay varying sums of cash in exchange for which the alien would not be reported to United States immigration authorities. The indictment alleges that the alien gave Edwards and Brooks an old driver’s licence and cash in exchange for a new Virgin Islands driver’s licence.
The federal Public Corruption Task Force comprises the FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, IRS CID, USPIS and Virgin Islands Police Department. U.S. Attorney Sharpe asks that anyone -- citizen or member of the VIPD -- who has information related to any form of public corruption to call the task force at (340) 715-6516.
An indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.