April 8, 2003 – Police officials are describing the St. Thomas policeman in federal custody after being arrested on drug conspiracy charges as an elite officer who once served at Government House and on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and most recently was a member of the Police Department's Blue Lightning marine unit.
Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, declined to provide details on that arrest and possibly others, saying information would be forthcoming at a press conference next Monday on St. Croix.
A police spokesman said on Tuesday that four more people have been arrested in connection with the arrests on Sunday of Planning and Natural Resources Department enforcement officer Montclaire Guishard, 41, and on Monday of Police Officer Raphael Cintron, 43. (See "DPNR, police officers face drug-related charges".)
The two officers are scheduled to appear in District Court on Wednesday morning for a bail hearing before U.S. Magistrate Geoffrey Barnard.
Sgt. Thomas Hannah, police spokesman, said on Tuesday that four more people were under arrest facing related charges, but he declined to elaborate, referring questions to the U.S. Attorney's Office. "I do understand there were four other individuals that were arrested," Hannah said.
A WVWI Radio news report on Tuesday said that two other individuals had been taken into custody. They were described as private citizens previously known to police for suspected illegal activity.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Azekah Jennings, calling the situation "fluid," refused on Tuesday to confirm any additional arrests. "I can't confirm anything else right now," he said, but he promised details to come at the Monday press conference at the Federal Courthouse on St. Croix. He said U.S. Justice Department officials would join local and federal police in discussing events that led to "recent developments."
What is known about those developments so far came in the form of a statement from U.S. Attorney David Nissman on Monday about the Sunday arrest of Guishard. That arrest came on a warrant from District Court, the result of an investigation by HIDTA, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Agency, the statement said. Investigators allege that the DPNR enforcement officer accepted $20,000 cash on Sunday "to misidentify and thereby protect a drug smuggler who had been involved in the importation of more than 35 kilograms of cocaine and 100 pounds of marijuana into St. Thomas on or about Jan. 13, 2003."
Jennings said on Monday that Guishard was one of the DPNR officers involved in the arrest of Lester De Castro, operator of a boat caught speeding in Benner Bay on Jan. 13. Authorities found the boat to be carrying cocaine and marijuana. De Castro is facing charges of possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute. Authorities said a second man, later identified by police as Clifford Potter, escaped the vessel.
Little was known about Cintron at the time his arrest was announced on Monday, except for a statement by Jennings that his arrest was not part of the federal complaint against Guishard. On Tuesday, Hannah offered a glimpse at the 21-year police veteran, who he said had "worked in various units," including assignment to the Government House security detail.
Cintron was charged with drug conspiracy at the time of his arrest.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Croix Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here