Aug. 4, 2005 – A U.S. District Court jury seated on St. Croix Wednesday returned guilty verdicts against four defendants who were named in a drug and money laundering conspiracy.
The verdicts against Craig Hendricks, Russell Robinson, Elroy Dowe and Daniel Fleming capped two weeks of trial on St. Croix. The jury comprised of 10 men and two women deliberated for over two days before handing up the verdicts late Wednesday afternoon.
All four were found guilty of conspiracy to import, transport and distribute cocaine and marijuana. Hendricks and Fleming were also convicted of drug possession and distribution charges and all but Dowe was found guilty of conspiracy to launder money.
The men were arrested in 2003 after a two-year investigation that focused on the conspiracy, money laundering and drug trafficking activities of the defendants, court officials said Wednesday. An indictment alleged that Hendricks used his business, Craig's Marine Service, as a front to import cocaine and marijuana and later distribute the illegal narcotics.
Rudolph Clarke was also named as a defendant in the case but later struck a plea bargain agreement with federal prosecutors in a move that would have him testify against Hendricks. Clarke could face up to four years in jail under terms of the plea-bargain.
Another defendant in the case, Andy Antoine was cleared last week after motions by his attorney were accepted by the trial judge. Attorney Clive Rivers argued on Antoine's behalf that the government lacked evidence to prosecute his client. Chief Federal Judge James Giles presided over the trial. Giles also cleared police officer Rafael Cintron of all charges having heard evidence presented by attorney Treston Moore on Cintron's behalf.
With the verdicts in, jurors are expected to return to court Thursday to complete another duty, determining how much illegal narcotics each defendant possessed and was responsible for distributing. Attorneys for the defendants and government prosecutors are likely to argue their points as regards each of the four defendants. There are also issues of forfeitures and monetary judgements to be resolved when court reconvenes at 9:15 a.m.
Hendricks, Dowe and Robinson have been jailed since 2003 and were denied pre-trial release. Fleming who was on bail was taken into federal custody immediately after the verdicts were read.
No sentencing date was set.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.