St. Thomas Man Sentenced to 120 Months in Prison
ST. THOMAS—District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez today sentenced Jace Antonio Edwards, 41, to 120 months in prison for attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
After a three-day jury trial, on March 19, 2014, Edwards was convicted of attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Evidence at trial established that on October 22, 2011, Edwards attempted to retrieve six kilograms of sham cocaine that he believed had been shipped to Atlanta from St. Thomas as part of a drug conspiracy. Leayle Benjamin, Jr., Aben Marrero and Michael Samuels, all of whom were convicted in a separate trial, conspired to smuggle cocaine through the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas to Atlanta, Georgia. Benjamin and Marrero were employees of the Virgin Islands Port Authority assigned to the maintenance division. The cocaine was passed to a co-conspirator under the partitions in the bathroom of the Cyril E. King Airport. The co-conspirator was arrested at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia after arriving on board a flight from St. Thomas with 7.025 kilograms of cocaine in his carry-on suitcase. The co-conspirator agreed to cooperate with the government and made consensually monitored telephone calls that resulted in theapprehension of Edwards. During his trial, Edwards was acquitted of the conspiracy count. The coconspirator pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Georgia to importation of cocaine, and testified in the Edwards trial.
In addition to 120 months in prison, Edwards was sentenced to five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $100 special assessment and forfeit $113,400 to the United States. Edwards was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nelson L. Jones prosecuted the case.