Leader of St. Croix drug ring gets 4 years in federal prison

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ST. CROIX - The mastermind of a drug ring that was broken up by police in March 2010 has been sentenced in District Court.

Stephen Garvey was sentenced by Senior Sitting District Judge Raymond Finch last week to almost four years in federal prison for his role in the distribution ring. Garvey was charged along with Malik Garvey, Orlando Carino, Christopher Jacobs, Daren Henry, David Roldan, Alphonso Garvey and Edwardo Gomez. The men faced charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, carrying a firearm in relations to a crime of violence and using a telecommunication facility to further drug operations.

According to court documents filed in District Court on St. Croix, from at least 2008 until November of 2009, the defendants conspired among themselves and other unknown individuals to traffic at least 294 pounds of marijuana.

Prosecutors charged the defendants worked together to send marijuana and money to and from St. Croix; El Paso, Texas; Dallas and Atlanta through the mail. According to the six count information, Drug Enforcement Agency investigators learned from a man in Georgia, who has since turned prosecution's witness, that Stephen Garvey was the mastermind behind the conspiracy and instructed the other defendants on how, when and where to pick up packages for him.

Most of the packages were delivered to Mail Boxes and More mail service to be picked up and prosecutors charged that Henry, who owned the business, knew the packages contained marijuana and coordinated with Stephen Garvey to ensure that the packages were picked up.

The case was tried by a jury in January 2011, but by then, only Carino, Stephen Garvey and Jacobs were remaining as defendants.

Henry and Alphonso Garvey were granted dismissals after prosecutors stated that in the interest of justice, they would no longer prosecute the two cases.

Roldan was also granted a dismissal in his case, following a suppression motion that was resolved in his favor.

Edwardo Gomez and Malik Garvey both pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, while Malik Garvey pleaded guilty to an additional charge of using a communication device to further drug distribution.

Malik Garvey was sentenced to three years of probation plus six months of home confinement and was made to pay a $100 special assessment fee on each count.

Gomez was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and a $100 special assessment fee. He must also complete 200 hours of community service that must include making presentations to students at schools.

Carino was convicted only of unauthorized possession of a firearm and was sentenced in January to a one-year suspended prison sentence and placed on one year probation. He was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $200 administrative fee.

Garvey was convicted by the jury of conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offence and sentenced last week to spend 47 months in federal prison. While the sentence was imposed last week, he has been allowed to continue on his conditions of release and has been ordered to surrender to the U.S. Marshal's Office on March 28 to begin serving his sentence.

A sentencing date has not yet been set for Jacobs.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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