Men charged in armed jewelry store robbery face new weapons charges


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ST. THOMAS - Four defendants in an armed robbery case that was transferred to the U.S. District Court in April are again facing new charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office delivered a new indictment containing weapons charges against Shaquim Fredericks, 19; Warkim Gabriel, 18; Chefton Newton, 25; and Alvin Thomas, 18, all of whom still are incarcerated.

The four defendants pleaded not guilty, again, to the charges filed June 12.

Fredericks, Gabriel, Newton and Thomas first were advised of their rights in March when the V.I. government pressed local charges, which included first-degree robbery; unauthorized possession of a firearm; aiding and abetting; possession of stolen property; first-degree assault; and unlawful discharge of a firearm.

The local charges followed the men's arrest March 22, after they were accused of robbing Imperial Jewelry store on Main Street on St. Thomas the same day.

In April, the federal government delivered the charge of violating the Hobbs Act. The Hobbs Act involves the delay or obstruction of commerce or the movement of a commodity by robbery and typically is applied to bank robberies.

Now, in the third time that new charges have surfaced, the federal government is charging the defendants with possession of firearms in the furtherance of a violent crime; conspiracy to possess firearms in the furtherance of a violent crime; and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

Attorneys asked about the status of the previous cases filed relating to the same allegations, but District Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller said that the dismissal of those cases was not in her power and would have to be dealt with by a District Court judge.

Miller and District Judge Curtis Gomez both have chastised the U.S. Attorney's Office previously for the recurring filing of new charges in the case.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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