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Raid On Petersen Home Nets Drug Evidence

Aug. 28, 2008 — The Frederiksted home of community activist and V.I. Senate candidate Kendall "Seigo" Petersen was raided Wednesday by law enforcement officials on a drug distribution warrant.
Gene Hawk, resident agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Thursday afternoon that agents found evidence of cocaine and marijuana distribution but that tests must be confirmed positive.
"We are in the process of taking the drugs to the lab for analysis and consulting with prosecutors regarding possible charges in the future," Hawk said.
Petersen, a well-known farmer who was elected last year as a Constitutional Convention delegate for the island of St. Croix, was not at home during the raid when local and federal officials, toting guns and wearing protective armor, swarmed the home located at 43-44 Queen Cross Street. Other members of his family including children were there when the raid occurred about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday but no one was hurt in the execution of the warrant.
Hawk said Thursday that officials had requested the warrant from a federal judge following repeated reports of drug activity at the residence.
"We had been getting information for quite some time," he said, declining to be specific on how long the home might have been under surveillance.
He said that "probable cause did not come about until recently."
Agents of the DEA; Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshal's Office; FBI; and the V.I. Police Department, including its Blue Lightning Marine Unit and Criminal Investigation Bureau, assisted in the raid.
"We found substances at the residence that was consistent with the application for the warrant, which means we got what we think we were looking for," Hawk said. The evidence must first test positive for marijuana and cocaine before charges could be filed.
Petersen, who has criticized the local government as vice president of African Caribbean Reparations and Resettlement Alliance (ACCRA), formed four years ago to seek reparations from Denmark for slavery on the island, could not be reached for comment.
On Thursday, John Abramson, Supervisor of Elections said that barring a conviction Petersen would maintain his rights to vie for a Senate seat and retain his elected post as a Constitutional Convention delegate.
"He still maintains his right to run for the Senate and hold his elected post," Abramson said. "The law says unless someone is a convicted felon only then does it pose an issue. Now, if convicted, he will have another issue to deal with because he loses his privilege to vote."
Abramson said nothing bars Petersen — if he is arrested — from running for the Senate and being elected while a trial is pending.
"If he is elected to office and is convicted in a subsequent trial then that's a matter for the Senate to deal with by law," he said.
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