V.I. police officer and National Guard member Shakim Mike has been sentenced to serve 12½ years in federal prison for his role in a cocaine smuggling ring that involved other Virgin Islands government employees, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court of Southern Florida.
Senior Judge Paul Huck sentenced Mike and two co-conspirators at an in-person hearing in a Miami courtroom Friday. The judgements were made public Wednesday.
Mike, 29, had previously pleaded guilty under an agreement with prosecutors to one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Besides sentencing Mike on Friday, Huck also recommended that the Bureau of Prisons enroll Mike in a 500-hour drug treatment program, and ordered him to pay a $100 special assessment.
When he is released from prison, Mike must serve five years of supervised release — the first nine months of which he must remain on home detention with electronic monitoring. While under the supervision of the Probation Office, Mike must also perform at least 400 hours of community service a year if employed, and 1,200 hours if he is unemployed.
The sentence is far beyond the more lenient 78 to 97 months in prison that federal public defender Lauren Field Krasnoff had requested.
Krasnoff argued that Mike became involved in the drug conspiracy because he “was involved in the arrests of several members of a known narcotics organization,” and his “participation in this admitted drug conspiracy was in part to relieve the threats that Mr. Mike was facing.”
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Yeney Hernandez said Mike was not only an active, willing member of the drug conspiracy — he was planning to join a federal task force in an effort to grow the smuggling operation.
Investigators obtained cellphone records for Mike and his co-conspirators, including fellow V.I. police officer and National Guard member Teshawn Adams, documenting numerous thinly-veiled text message discussions about their plans for trafficking cocaine.
“Amazingly, Mike interlaced these coded drug communications with work-related discussions,” Hernandez wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed in September. “On December 1, 2020, Mike informed Teshawn that he was going to apply to the FBI task force.
Teshawn, doubtlessly realizing the immense value of having an ‘inside man’ within federal law enforcement, immediately replied ‘Join it.’”
According to Hernandez, “Mike then clarified his motives for joining the task force: ‘Might get some intel on where things coming,’ referring to the position’s potential for gathering valuable information regarding drug trafficking investigations.”
Teshawn Adams was sentenced on Oct. 4 to 14 years in prison after prosecutors identified him as the leader of the “international drug trafficking scheme.”
The men were charged alongside four co-conspirators — Adams’ twin brother, Tevon Adams; V.I. Internal Revenue Bureau tax return controller Roystin David; Maleek Leonard and Anthon Berkeley.
The men were arrested after David, Leonard, Mike, and Teshawn Adams, who all live on St. Thomas, traveled on a charter plane from St. Thomas to Opa-Locka Executive Airport in Florida on Jan. 12.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers discovered 294 plastic-wrapped bricks of cocaine inside several duffel bags and suitcases, according to an affidavit. The bricks weighed just under 725 pounds with an estimated value of more than $5 million.
Mike fled the airport on foot and contacted Tevon Adams, who was already in Florida, and took him to a hotel in Miami.
Berkeley was charged after he admitted to driving from Orlando to Miami to pick up a kilo of the cocaine, and expected to be paid $18,000 to deliver it to the ultimate buyer.
Tevon Adams and Berkeley were both sentenced on Friday to serve 70 months in prison — slightly less than six years — followed by five years of supervised release.
Leonard was sentenced on Oct. 4 to serve just over five years in prison.
David is the only co-defendant who has not entered a plea agreement with prosecutors, and he may end up going to trial.
Investigators said they found text conversations in David’s cellphone between him and Teshawn Adams showing that they were discussing plans to “steal some bricks” as early as September, and David suggested recruiting a flight attendant to help with their scheme, according to prosecutors.