Naeem Akil Smith, 24, of St. Thomas was arrested April 27 and charged May 5 with the unlawful possession of 18 firearms, including two assault rifles, at the Cyril E. King Airport, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
Smith’s arrest resulted from a joint law enforcement operation named “Operation Gun Dog,” which was conducted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection task force during the St. Thomas Carnival season.
Smith made his initial court appearance May 5 before District Court Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller. A detention hearing for Smith was held May 6, at which he was ordered to post a $10,000 unsecured bond. Smith is also required to wear an electronic monitor.
According to the complaint, a law enforcement K-9 at the Cyril E. King Airport on April 27 alerted to the presence of firearms inside of luggage checked in Smith’s name. Customs and Border Protection officers examined Smith’s luggage, which allegedly revealed one Taurus pistol, 15 Glock pistols, and two AK-47 assault rifles. His luggage allegedly also contained two AK-47 magazines, 36 other pistol magazines with capacities ranging from 9 to 15 rounds, 10 speed loaders, 20 rounds for a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson, and a storage box. Smith was taken into custody.
Under federal law if convicted of unlawful possession of firearms, Smith would face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Operation Gun Dog was formed to interdict contraband traveling through the Cyril E. King Airport and deter criminal activity during the St. Thomas Carnival. It is made up of law enforcement officials from CBP, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, United States Marshals Service, Transportation Security Administration, Virgin Islands Port Authority and Virgin Islands Police Department.
This case is being investigated by HSI and ATF. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia Smith.