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Press Release


For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Virgin Islands

St. Thomas, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Somalie Bruce, 37, of St. Croix, was sentenced by Chief District Judge Robert A. Molloy to 120 months incarceration after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Traffic Firearms and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine.

“The manufacture of ‘ghost guns’ is intended to commit senseless acts of violence that are almost impossible to solve. I am therefore relieved that due to the excellent work of federal and local law enforcement partners, many lives have been saved”, said United States Attorney Smith. “The outcome of this investigation and significant sentence is a testament to the successful collaboration between our law enforcement agencies. The assembly of ghost guns pose a significant threat to the safety of Virgin Islanders. HSI has a firm stance against weapons trafficking and wants to make it clear that we will not tolerate weapons trafficking which is fueling violent crimes in the Territory”, said HSI San Juan Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Gonzalez-Ramos.

According to court documents, federal agents began investigating Bruce in March 2020, after Customs and Border Protection intercepted a package that was mailed by Bruce from a post office in St. Croix containing approximately 1.1 kilograms of cocaine. Further investigation revealed that Bruce’s girlfriend Jeanorah Williams had purchased 67 postal money orders totaling $65,000.00 payable to several gun manufacturers in Florida and North Carolina. Agents learned that, from May 2019 to July 2020, over 70 packages containing multiple firearm parts, including M-16 rifle bolt assemblies, AR15 rifle barrels and flare gun inserts which are used to convert a flare gun into a firearm, were shipped to Bruce and Williams from the same firearm companies. Agents also recovered invoices dated May 2019 through August 2020 from several firearms companies totaling over $95,000.00 for purchases of 200 firearms parts and accessories used in the construction of AR-15 and M-16 rifles and Glock handguns. Between October and December 2020, Bruce and Williams collected additional packages of firearm parts and accessories from the same post office in St. Croix. In a search of Bruce and Williams’ apartment, agents also recovered several assembled firearms, including one with an obliterated serial number, a shotgun and five handguns. Neither Bruce nor Williams are licensed firearm dealers, importers or manufacturers, as defined by federal law, and neither possesses a license or permit to carry, possess, or otherwise own a firearm under Virgin Islands law. On November 28, 2023, Williams pleaded guilty to Engaging in the Business of Manufacturing Firearms without a License. Her sentencing date has not been set by the court.

“I am extremely proud of our CBP Officers and law enforcement counterparts who utilized a multilayered enforcement approach of intelligence collection, x-ray technology, analysis, and, most importantly, subject matter expertise to ultimately disrupt this criminal organization and keep our Virgin Islands community safe,” said Roberto Vaquero, San Juan Field Office Director of Operations, Customs and Border Protection.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Investigation Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration, Virgin Islands Port Authority and Virgin Islands Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Everard E. Potter. This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCEDTF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transactional criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Updated February 29, 2024

Drug Trafficking