Superior Court Judge Carolyn Hermon-Purcell found probable cause for the arrest of Khalid Blyden on charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possession of ammunition during an advice of rights hearing on Monday.
Blyden, 26, of St. Thomas, appeared at the hearing via videoconference, after an AR-15 pistol and nearly a pound of marijuana was found in his vehicle Friday when he was involved in a crash with another vehicle on Harwood Highway, according to an affidavit filed by V.I. Police.
He was held on $100,000 bond over the weekend and transferred to Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility on St. Croix because the St. Thomas jail remains under lockdown due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
According to an affidavit filed by an officer who responded to the crash Friday evening in the area of Rosa’s Place restaurant and bar, Blyden and a woman were standing outside the vehicle when she arrived, and the woman asked to retrieve her purse from the vehicle. The officer told her to wait until the investigation was complete, and went to the vehicle to look for a purse.
“As I stood about six inches away from the vehicle a strong odor of marijuana was coming from inside,” the officer wrote, and she asked Blyden what was inside a blue backpack on the floor of the driver’s area.
“I don’t know wha your talking bout, I took my kids to the beach,” Blyden said, according to the fact sheet.
The officer told Blyden she had probable cause to conduct a search. Inside the backpack she found various sized baggies and marijuana weighing a total of 15.6 ounces, according to the fact sheet.
On the floor of the back seat, officers found “a brown and black Fendi bag that contained a Multi Caliber Omni hybrid American Tactical AR 15 pistol,” with a 30-round magazine fully loaded with .223 caliber bullets, and one round in the chamber, according to the fact sheet.
The 2008 Silver Chevrolet Cobalt Blyden was driving is registered to his mother, according to the fact sheet.
Blyden’s parents, Sen. Marvin Blyden and Jacqueline Blyden, appeared in court Monday via videoconference. His mother told Hermon-Purcell she would be willing to serve as a third-party custodian, and alert police if her son violates any conditions of release while he’s awaiting trial.
Assistant Attorney General Brenda Scales told the judge that Blyden has three prior arrests in Florida, none of which appears to have resulted in a conviction.
“The last one was for failure to appear,” in court in Florida, Scales said, and there was a warrant issued for his arrest, but he is not subject to extradition.
Blyden also initially identified himself to police as his older brother, Scales said, giving “his brother’s name and date of birth” when he was arrested.
While Scales argued that the serious nature of the case against Blyden warranted the full $100,000 bail, Territorial Public Defender Frederick Johnson said that “would all but ensure that the defendant would remain in custody until trial,” and asked instead for him to sign an unsecured bond.
The judge lowered Blyden’s bond to $50,000 and allowed him to post 10% cash. Blyden will be released to his mother’s custody under a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekday curfew, and full 24-hour house arrest on weekends.