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FEDERAL AGENTS RAID LOCAL BUSINESS

Hasam Abdul-Samad, 35, of Bonne Resolution was taken into custody Wednesday by federal agents on a complaint of conspiracy and bribery of a public official.
Federal agents from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Customs and the U.S. Marshals Office raided a northside home and two businesses on Wednesday afternoon. During the raids Samad was detained, though it's not clear where he was when he was apprehended.
The agents were searching for travel documents, deeds of conveyance and other documentation to support a case of bribery and conspiracy against Samad.
At one location, the Runway Superette in Contant, federal agents seized the entire stock of the store. The Hometown convenience store and gas station was also raided.
Samad appeared in U.S. District Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Geoffrey Barnard on Thursday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh Mabe told the court he thought Samad was a flight risk and requested $100,000 bail in the form of a secured bond, travel restrictions and electronic monitoring; he also asked that a third party custodian be appointed. Samad reportedly had plans to travel to Jordan.
Federal agents said in court Thursday that the operation was part of a larger ongoing investigation.
A release issued from the U. S. Attorney's Office late Thursday afternoon said that between April 23 and June 11 Samad gave $5,000 to an INS agent posing as a corrupt official to get the agent to provide a naturalization certificate for an alien.
U.S. Attorney James Hurd's release said bribery of public officials would be given one of the highest priorities of his office since bribery involves conduct which seeks to undermine the integrity of the governmental function.
"Any attempt to bribe a public official will be investigated aggressively and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Hurd said.
In Wednesday's raids agents picked up one undocumented national of the Dominican Republic.
Barnard released Samad on a $100,000 bond, secured by property.
Last month, longtime V.I. businessman Fathi Yousef and four others were charged in an alien-smuggling conspiracy case by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Those arrests followed raids on the Plaza Extra supermarket and Lindbergh Bay market on St. Thomas and the St. Croix Plaza Extra. Six workers at the St. Thomas stores were subsequently arrested for not having valid employment authorization.
The maximum penalty for bribery of a public official is 15 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Conspiracy carries a possible five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

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