|| ST. THOMAS, V.I. – A police operation conducted over the weekend led to the arrests of three young men on weapons charges.
Akil Smith, 24, of Estate Tutu, Kisho Atiba Gumbs, 24, of Paul M. Pearson Garden housing community and Jaleem A. Charles, 28, of Estate Tutu appeared before V.I. Superior Court Magistrate Henry Carr III Tuesday morning following their arrests in the pre-dawn hours of Monday. Based on the probable cause fact sheet, Magistrate Carr determined that there was sufficient evidence to support the charges of constructive possession of a firearm for each of the men. Smith faces an additional charge of possession of ammunition.
Attorney General Claude Earl Walker recommended a $200,000 bail for Smith, which the court granted.
In her request for bail, Assistant Attorney General Natasha Baker described Smith as an “extreme danger to the community,” stating that he has another firearms case, which is still pending. AAG Baker told the court that Smith had been arrested in November 2015 on suspicion that he had been engaged in a gun battle at Krush Nightclub and when police intercepted him on Veteran’s Drive, he had two handguns and a police radio. To further boost her bail request, AAG Baker pointed out that at the time Smith was arrested, he was in violation of his bail conditions, which included a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Magistrate Carr increased Smith’s bail from $135,000 to $200,000 and imposed a number of bail conditions, which include 24-hour house arrest with electronic monitoring and asked him to provide suitable third-party custodians before he can be released from custody.
Bail for Gumbs and Charles was reduced from $135,000 to $25,000 and they were each allowed to be released on posting 10 percent. Both men also have to abide by a number of court-imposed bail conditions, which include 24-hour house arrest and curfews – a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew and a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for Gumbs and Charles, respectively. Gumbs was also ordered to surrender his passport.
According to a probable cause fact sheet filed by Det. Denley Williams, on Dec. 26 at approximately 3:45 a.m., officers of the Special Operation Bureau of Operation Make It Safe II were conducting a traffic check point in the area of Sub Base Road. They stopped a car that Gumbs was driving; Smith and Charles were both passengers in that car, according to Williams.
An inspection of the inside of the car revealed four firearms – a black handgun underneath the rear of the right front passenger seat, another handgun tucked under the front portion of the front right passenger seat, a third handgun inside the vehicle’s glove box and an AK-47 rifle on the back rest of the third row seat – according to Williams.
The three men are scheduled to make their second court appearance on Jan. 12, 2017, for their arraignment hearing, at which they each will formally answer to the charges.