More Than A Dozen Eavesdropping Devices Found At More Than Five Government Agencies, Police Commissioner Says; OMB IT employees placed on administrative leave

Last updated 6:28 p.m. on Friday, August 5, 2022.

Local and federal law enforcement officials are investigating the placement of eavesdropping devices hidden in various locations inside the Office of Management and Budget building in St. Thomas, the Consortium has learned.

According to people with intimate knowledge of the unfolding event, Police Department VI and federal agents entered the OMB office, located in the Post Office Square neighborhood of St. Thomas, on Friday morning. and examined the entire office on Friday afternoon. Police Commissioner Ray Martinez has since corroborated the information during an interview with the Consortium.

As a result of the investigation, three OMB employees employed in the department’s information technology (IT) office were placed on administrative leave, Police Commissioner Ray Martinez said. He said those employees were placed on paid leave at the request of the VIPD so that law enforcement could have full access to OMB systems during the investigation.

“For the access we need, we need 100% pure access to the system. We’re not saying they’ve done anything, but we don’t need anyone with a administrator access to access the system for the next two days until we do what we need to do,” the commissioner said.

To date, more than ten devices have been found in more than five branches. The Commissioner could not say whether the wiretapping was politically motivated. “Over time, as the investigation progresses, I will disclose which government agencies they were found in, but at this time, in order to protect the investigation, I cannot disclose this,” he said. he declared.

Mr Martinez condemned the alleged act and said law enforcement would use all their resources to bring the perpetrators to justice. “Individuals who planted these devices for nefarious reasons underestimated the ability of local law enforcement to discover them,” he said. government. They underestimated our dedication and access to advanced digital forensic capabilities. Make no mistake, we have only scratched the surface of this investigation.”

OMB Director Jenifer O’Neal informed Police Department VI of the suspicious devices and notified the VIPD. The police department in turn requested support from federal partners, and FBI agents specializing in digital forensics flew in from Puerto Rico to help with the operation, the people said. The VI Ministry of Justice is also involved in the investigation.

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