A St. Croix man awaiting sentencing in three separate criminal cases is facing new charges, after police say he was caught driving an unregistered vehicle with more than four ounces of marijuana packaged for sale and a handgun stolen in a burglary two weeks earlier.
Dasha Graham, 25, of Candido Guadalupe Terrace housing community, was arrested Wednesday and charged with eight crimes, including unauthorized possession of a firearm and ammunition, and buying, receiving, or possessing stolen property.
Officers on patrol in the Gallows Bay area saw an Acura TSX on Mount Welcome Road with no license plate or registration sticker, and conducted a traffic stop.
Police said they interviewed the driver, later identified as Graham, who could not provide a driver’s license or proof of insurance.
Graham was on the phone with his girlfriend, who told police she had purchased the vehicle but had yet to transfer the title or register it, according to an affidavit filed by police.
Graham “attempted to walk away from the traffic stop multiple times,” and police told him he was not free to leave because they were still citing him for traffic violations, according to the affidavit.
As one officer searched the vehicle and another began writing citations, Graham took off running. Police attempted to strike Graham with a Taser, but it didn’t connect, according to the affidavit.
Graham ran into the water and police realized he “was swimming across to the main area of Altona Lagoon,” according to the affidavit.
Police were unable to locate Graham and returned to the vehicle, where an officer had found a firearm.
Police secured the black Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum with five live rounds in the cylinder, a 22-round .40 caliber Glock magazine loaded with 13 live rounds, and a plastic bag containing vials of marijuana, according to the affidavit.
Meanwhile, another officer spotted Graham running near The Bistro, and police said they saw him jump a fence into a homeowner’s yard.
According to the affidavit, officers pursued Graham into another yard on Green Street, where they found him “sitting on a concrete slab with no shirt on, his head down. Mr. Graham was placed in handcuffs and taken into custody without further incident.”
In Graham’s pockets, police said they found more vials of marijuana and $448 cash. Police found 118.6 grams of marijuana in the vehicle and 14.2 grams on his person, for a total of approximately 4.6 ounces, according to the affidavit.
They also conducted a criminal record check on the handgun found in the vehicle, “which revealed it had been stolen during a burglary,” that occurred on Oct. 28, according to the affidavit.
Unable to post $50,000 bail, Graham was jailed until his advice-of-rights hearing in V.I. Superior Court on Friday morning.
At the hearing, Assistant V.I. Attorney General Vanessa Hewitt-Quinland said Graham “is currently on at least three different release orders” in pending cases, as well as post-conviction parole or probation.
Territorial Public Defender Leslie Davis asked the court to release Graham to the custody of his girlfriend, but Hewitt-Quinland said the woman was already serving as his third-party custodian for the previous cases at the time he was arrested.
Davis said Graham’s sentencing is set for December in the global plea agreement he signed in the previous three cases, and “he does intend to follow the court’s orders.”
Graham was supposed to be sentenced on Oct. 22, but the Probation Office filed a notice on Oct. 21 that they’d never received the court clerk’s March 16 request for a pre-sentence report, and asked that sentencing be delayed so they could prepare it, according to court records.
Graham has a long criminal history involving a variety of charges. The three pending cases are all from 2020, and include arson, domestic violence, burglary, and assault charges, according to court records.
Magistrate Judge Ernest Morris Jr. kept Graham’s bond at $50,000 cash, and said he must find someone other than his girlfriend to serve as a third-party custodian if he is able to post that amount.