Bahamian and Jamaican Nationals Charged with Marijuana Importation
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, announce the indictment of Quinton Jamal Mitchell, 31, from Sweeting’s Cay Settlement, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas, and LeRoy Anthony Edwards, 56, from Kingston, Jamaica. Mitchell and Edwards were arraigned on multiple counts before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr. Edwards was detained as a risk of flight and a danger to the community.
Mitchell and Edwards are charged with conspiring to and importing 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 952 (a), 963 and 960(b)(2)(G). They are also charged with conspiring to and possessing with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, in violation of with Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 (a), 846 and 841(b)(1)(B)(vii). If convicted on either of the conspiracy charges, they face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and up to a maximum of 40 years in prison, four years to a lifetime of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $5,000,000. Mitchell is also charged with encouraging aliens to come to the United States, causing serious bodily injury, and placing lives in jeopardy in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Sections 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv), 1324(a)(1)(A)(v)(II) and 1324(a)(1)(B)(iii). If convicted, he faces up to a maximum of 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Edwards is also charged with being a removed alien after deportation, in violation of Title 8, United States Code Section, 1326(a)(1) and faces up to two years in prison, up to one year of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, a vessel capsized in the waters off Jupiter Island, Florida, and three males swam to shore, including Mitchell. Upon arriving to shore, Mitchell ran away from the scene. A second male later identified as LeRoy Anthony Edwards, was rescued from the surf and resuscitated by a good samaritan. Quinton Mitchell was identified as the boat captain. Before running off, Mitchell told the good samaritan that there had been a total of four males on the boat.
Mitchell was later captured by Jupiter Island Police Department Officers and Martin County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, who responded to the area and found the beach littered with white bales and blue gas cans, and the partially submerged boat approximately 200 feet from the shoreline.
Martin County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene investigators found that the recovered bales contained marijuana, weighing approximately 236 kilograms. Authorities are still searching for the other passengers that were on-board the boat.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, DEA, the Jupiter Island Police Department, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Florida Fish and Wildlife. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.
An indictment is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.