According to court documents, from April 2021 to May 2021, a St. Thomas man mailed two packages containing pills from Georgia to St. Thomas. Both packages were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protections officers in San Juan, PR, and St. Thomas. During this period, a victim on St. Thomas overdosed from consuming pills suspected of containing fentanyl.
The first package, mailed on April 22, 2021, contained 150 fentanyl pills (17.5 grams) were concealed in a vitamin bottle. The second package, mailed on May 18, 2021, contained 200 fentanyl pills (25 grams) were concealed inside a gift box. Both packages were filled with spray foam to further conceal the pills and mailed from an Atlanta, GA, post office, said police.
Today, Elijah Hakim, 35, was sentenced to 85 months of imprisonment in the District’s first prosecution of fentanyl possession. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, or the amount that could fit on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially lethal dose, said United States Attorney Delia L. Smith.
At trial, the United States introduced matching fingerprints from the May package, a spray foam canister, bubble wrap, vacuum-sealed bags, and fiber tape consistent with the packaging used to conceal the fentanyl in the April and May packages found in Hakim’s apartment, according to press release.
During his allocution, Hakim stated that he did not believe that he could be found guilty by just fingerprints. The judge responded it was not just the fingerprints, but all of the other evidence pointing to Hakim as the culprit; the fingerprints simply sealed the deal, according to court documents.
“Here in the Virgin Islands, we have thus far been spared the worst of the opioid epidemic, but the two shipments of fentanyl involved in this case show that we are not immune. Fortunately, the vigilance and dedication of our law enforcement partners led to the interception of these deadly drugs, and we were able to convict those responsible. We will continue to do everything in our power to keep the Virgin Islands safe from this lethal scourge,” said Smith.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kyle Payne and Meredith Edwards. This effort was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information can be found at the OCDETF Program.