Convicted murderer Roberto Smalls faces contraband charges for cellphones, debit cards
Published: September 28, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Held up by the V.I. Corrections Department just more than a year ago as a model prisoner, convicted murderer Roberto Smalls found himself before a magistrate judge on Friday, this time charged with introducing contraband to the correctional facility where he is located.
Smalls, who is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, appeared before Magistrate Miguel Camacho and was advised of his rights on the single charge of introduction of dangerous contraband into the prison.
The charges come in the wake of a search of his dormitory unit that uncovered prohibited items on May 20, 2013, according to court document. Smalls could be sentenced to an additional five years if he is convicted of the contraband charge.
A Corrections officer assigned to the Gang Intelligence Unit at Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility said he and other officers conduct random searches inside the prison and about 12:20 a.m. May 20, they went to the I-Unit, where Smalls is assigned to a room without a roommate.
During the search, officers removed a shelf that was screwed into the wall over a table in the cell and discovered three different Android smart phones from three different cellular phone service providers. The search also uncovered a credit card case containing two debit cards, a key ring containing three keys and two USB flash drives.
Smalls is serving a life sentence without parole plus 10 years in prison for firing shots into the back of a pickup truck and killing one of the occupants in January 1994.
He had been considered a model inmate and has been one of the organizers of a successful basketball league inside the prison for three years.
Last October, Smalls was selected to give a presentation before a group of more than 300 students during Red Ribbon Week observations on St. Croix.
He described his bright future in professional baseball as a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs at the age of 16, but he said he traded his Cubs uniform for his prison jumpsuit at the age of 23, a situation he said he continues to regret 20 years later.
Bail was set at $10,000.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.