St. Croix woman arrested after authorities find 200 marijuana plants on her property


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ST. CROIX - Since spotting what appeared to be marijuana plants growing under a tent just more than a week ago, federal and local law enforcement officers have been working together and have now arrested a Mount Pleasant woman that they believe was cultivating the illicit crop.

Gail Leung made her initial court appearance before Magistrate Court George Cannon on Thursday morning, charged with a single count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

According to the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant that was executed Thursday morning, V.I. Police Officer Donnell Samuel, who is assigned to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, discovered the illegal drugs on May 28.

In the court document that had remained sealed until Friday, Samuel states that around 2 p.m. May 28, he was conducting an unrelated investigation with a federal agent when they saw several marijuana plants growing behind a Mount Pleasant residence.

Samuel said the plants were partially concealed under a white and brown tent, but leaves and stems were visible when the wind blew the covering out of place.

He said he and his partner observed that the tent was covered on all sides with a bamboo-like material and the louvered windows of the residence were all darkly tinted.

Samuel reported their findings to a supervisor, who obtained a federal search warrant from Cannon.

When agents arrived at the home to serve the warrant, Samuel said they knocked on the door and announced their presence for several minutes, and when there was no response, they forced their way into the home, as authorized by the warrant.

During the search of the home and its surroundings, according to Samuel, officers found processed marijuana inside the house as well as plants inside the home and in three tents outside.

Agents found 198 marijuana plants under the tents, two marijuana plants and 663 gross grams of processed marijuana in a clear plastic bag in the living room, a quart-size bag with empty "dime bags" in a living room cabinet, planting pots in an outdoor storage room and documents belonging to Leung, including for her vehicle and insurance, bank statements, check stubs and other documents.

Based on the identification documents, as well as women's clothing and accessories that were in the house, agents concluded only Leung is living in the home.

During the hearing Thursday, Leung was represented by the Federal Public Defender's Office.

Cannon ordered that bail for Leung remain at $25,000 as it had been set in the warrant but allowed her to post an unsecured bond in that same amount to allow for her release.

She was advised that if she violates her conditions of release or fails to render herself to the court during the time that the case is pending before her final disposition, that she will be held accountable to pay the full amount of the bond.

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

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