ST. THOMAS — A woman accused of using three children to help smuggle 167 pounds of marijuana into St. Thomas was released on bond Friday over the objection of federal prosecutors.

The woman, Idesha Sterrod, traveled from Miami to King Airport on Wednesday with the three children and seven suitcases containing vacuum-sealed packages of marijuana, according to court records.

She was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and appeared in court via videoconference for her advice of rights and detention hearing before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller. Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Rainwater filed a motion for detention without bond pending trial, arguing that the circumstances of the case indicate Sterrod is a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Rainwater wrote that Sterrod is a Georgia resident who traveled to St. Thomas in early July and stayed with her mother before flying to California on July 27.

“The fact that she was in 3 different states within a single month shows the ability and means to leave the jurisdiction is she desires,” Rainwater wrote.

Further, the sheer quantity of marijuana in her possession means “there is a presumption that the defendant is a danger to the community and a flight risk,” and Rainwater wrote that she “has grave concerns about the defendant’s participation with and use of three minor children to assist in the crime. On Monday July 27, 2020, the children’s biological father filed an incident report requesting police assistance and indicating he did not want his children traveling off-island. The defendant was gone for approximately nine days with the children.”

Miller allowed Sterrod to be released after signing an unsecured $10,000 appearance bond, according to court records. Under the conditions of her release, Sterrod must reside with a third-party custodian, surrender her passport, and avoid all contact with any victims or witnesses, according to Miller’s order.

- Contact Suzanne Carlson at 340-714-9122 or email