Two men traveling on the same plane from Miami were arrested Friday and charged with smuggling more than 40 pounds of marijuana, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
The men were charged separately with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. It is unclear from publicly available court records whether the men were part of a criminal conspiracy, or just happened to be traveling on the same flight by coincidence. A spokesperson from the U.S. Attorney Office could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspecting incoming checked baggage Friday at King Airport on St. Thomas found “anomalies” in some of the luggage aboard American Airlines Flight 1427. They allowed the suspicious bags to continue to the claim area, according to an affidavit filed by investigators.
Two men retrieved the bags, and CBP officers approached them, identified themselves, and escorted them to an inspection area for a search, according to the affidavit.
One of the men, Nathaniel Robinson, had seven vacuum-sealed bags in his luggage containing 3.38 kilograms of marijuana, a little more than seven pounds, according to the affidavit.
The other man, Sheldon Stuart Isles, had 32 vacuum-sealed bags containing 15.74 kilograms of marijuana, or just more than 34 pounds, according to the affidavit.
Isles told officers he was being paid $2,500 to transport the marijuana from Washington to St. Thomas, and Robinson said he agreed to smuggle the drugs from California to St. Thomas for “a couple thousand dollars,” according to the affidavit.
Isles and Robinson were each released on a personal recognizance bond and ordered to surrender their passports after making their initial court appearances Monday.