Nov. 7, 2002 – A St. Thomas man sought by the FBI as an international drug trafficker and fugitive was arrested on Tuesday and brought before a Georgia judge on Wednesday, charged with supplying cocaine to several drug dealers in the city of Augusta.
According to a Wednesday story in the Augusta Chronicle, close to a dozen unmarked cars bearing state and federal police formed a convoy to escort James Spencer Springette through the city to an advice-of-rights hearing in U.S. District Court.
Springette, also known as "Jimmy the Juice," who had been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, was apprehended by military police Tuesday in Venezuela and quickly extradicted to the U.S. mainland.
Click here for an FBI Ten Most Wanted flyer on Springette.
Here is the FBI's Nov. 7 announcement of Springette's arrest. It states that he was arrested by Venezuelan authorities near the capital of Caracas.
In a brief court appearance in Augusta on Wednesday, he acknowledged his identity before a federal magistrate and was tentatively ordered to return to court later in the afternoon for a bail hearing.
Springette had been on the run since March 2000, when Colombian authorities say he escaped from jail. Two years earlier, he was charged in federal court in Georgia with conspiracy to import cocaine and cocaine base, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and money laundering. The Chronicle says he is the last of seven people to be prosecuted in that case.
V.I. Attorney General Iver Stridiron, who until last July headed the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, said on Thursday morning that HIDTA, a combined V.I.-Puerto Rican law-enforcement coalition, was instrumental in bringing about Springette's capture.
"The arrest of 'Jimmy the Juice' was part of a worldwide effort, and HIDTA was part of that effort," Stridiron said. He declined to comment on the details of the regional agency's participation.
Among Springette's alleged associates in Augusta is another Virgin Islander, Eugene Smalls, who was paralyzed in a shooting incident in March 1991 in which another man, Askia Rojas, was killed.
A grand jury indictment includes charges that Springette smuggled more than a ton of cocaine into the Georgia area from St. Thomas in 1996. He is also linked to the transport of another 6,000 kilograms of the drug into the area later that same year.
Authorities on the mainland say Springette has been the head of an international drug smuggling ring called the Island Boys since 1991, when they allege that he purchased a boat for $304,000 and used it to supply illegal drugs into Atlanta and Richmond, Virginia.
For the FBI's announcement issued Wednesday on Springette following his arrest in Venezuela, see this FBI Atlanta office release.
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