St. Croix Man Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Prison Contraband
St. Croix, USVI – Paul Girard, 27, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court on St. Croix to Possession of Prison Contraband , United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe and Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA) Special Agent-in-Charge Vito S. Guarino announced.
Girard pleaded guilty to four counts including two counts to possessing cell phones and chargers and one count of possessing a knife and one of possessing a shank or homemade knife.
According to the plea agreement, on November 16, 2012, Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections officials searched a cell occupied by Girard and another inmate and seized two cell phones and 24 ‘dime’ bags of marijuana. Text messages from one of the cell phones contained Girard’s nickname and phone number. On January 16, 2013, Bureau of Corrections officials searched another cell occupied solely by Girard and seized a knife, a cell phone and 34 dime bags of marijuana from the cell. The phone contained several photos of Girard.
On June 18, 2013, Bureau of Corrections officials searched a third cell occupied solely by Girard and seized a cell phone and a dime bag of marijuana. The seized phone contained several photos of Girard.
On April 7, 2014, pursuant to a federal search warrant, federal agents searched a fourth cell occupied solely by Girard and seized a homemade weapon commonly referred to as a shank, an iPad, and marijuana. The iPad contained a video depicting Girard and others in a Golden Grove prison cell.
AWhile cell phones appear harmless, in prison they pose a real danger. They can be used to conduct drug transactions both in and out of the prison. They can also be used to arrange ‘hits’ on unsuspecting targets including other inmates and persons in the community,@ U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe said.
Girard faces a maximum sentence of one year incarceration and a fine of $100,000 on the cell phone counts and a maximum sentence of five years of incarceration and a fine of $250,000 on the knife and shank counts. A sentencing date has been set for May 13, 2015.
United States Attorney Sharpe commended the efforts of the DEA and the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections who investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rhonda Williams-Henry and Alphonso Andrews who prosecuted it.