Jury finds seven defendants guilty on 81 of 82 counts


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ST. CROIX - The seven remaining defendants in a drug-trafficking and money-laundering case that has spanned Alaska to the Virgin Islands, a mistrial, a temporary dismissal charges and almost a decade from crime to verdict, all were found guilty by a jury Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Isaiah Fawkes, Marcelino Garcia, Shango Allick, Christopher Alfred, Jamaal Maragh, Jamaal Young and David Clouden were found guilty on 81 of the 82 counts against them. Garcia was found not guilty on the first count - conspiracy to distribute cocaine - for which both he and Fawkes were charged.

Fawkes was the only defendant charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

The 81 remaining charges were on conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and aiding and abetting. The jury found the men were guilty on all of those charges.

The case was tried before U.S. District Court Judge Anne Thompson.

According to the grand jury indictment on the seven men from 2007, Fawkes and Myron Punter were the main leaders of a drug-trafficking organization that shipped drugs from St. Croix to Fairbanks, Alaska, where Punter was stationed with the U.S. Army and where the drugs were sold from June 2001 through March 2004.

"The primary object was to transport cocaine from St. Croix to Alaska and distribute it in Alaska for financial gain," the indictment reads.

The original indictment from 2005, charged that 16 people were involved in the drug ring.

A number of defendants cut deals with the U.S. Attorney's Office, agreeing to testify in the trial.

Punter pleaded guilty to money laundering a month before the first trial in 2006. In exchange, Punter agreed to testify on behalf of the prosecution.

He was ordered released from custody on Friday by U.S. District Judge Raymond Finch, sentenced to time served.

The first trial, which was tried before Finch, ended in a mistrial when the jury told the judge they could not return a unanimous verdict. Finch declared a mistrial, but not before inquiring of the jury whether they had solved the stalemate, which was a breach of judicial rules.

Before another trial was set to begin in 2007, Finch dismissed the charges with prejudice.

The U.S. Attorney refiled the charges in 2007.

According to the most recent indictment, Punter and Fawkes were the main leaders of the drug ring. Both men grew up on St. Croix, but Punter was stationed with the Army in Alaska while Fawkes remained on St. Croix.

"Fawkes was responsible for acquiring the drugs and transporting them to Alaska," the indictment reads. "Punter was responsible for receiving and distributing the drugs in Alaska. He was also responsible for collecting the proceeds and sending payment to Fawkes."

Fawkes would mail the drugs to Alaska using U.S. mail by putting the drugs at the bottom of bottles of colon cleansing pills, placing pills on top and resealing the bottles. Punter then would receive the drugs and distribute them.

Both men used other men and women to send and pick up the drugs and money, the indictment reads.

Punter then would send money back to Fawkes through Western Union money wires and money orders.

Garcia, Allick, Alfred, Maragh, Young and Clouden all received and cashed the money wires and orders, totalling about $200,000, and transferred the money to Fawkes, it reads.

- Contact Daniel Shea at 774-8772 ext. 457 or e-mail dshea@dailynews.vi.

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