Originally created 05/11/02

TV show to spotlight drug suspect



In Augusta and throughout America, he's on the top 10 most wanted list.

Now, a nationwide audience will hear all about James Spencer Springette and how it can help authorities find him on an upcoming edition of America's Most Wanted.

"He's still moving significant amounts of cocaine from the (Caribbean) islands into the U.S.," said Ed Reinhold, of the FBI's Augusta office. "We're sure some of it's still coming into Augusta."

Mr. Springette, who is alleged to have led a Caribbean-based drug-smuggling organization called "The Island Boys" since 1991, was added to the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive list just weeks ago. He will be spotlighted May 18 on the Fox network's America's Most Wanted television program.

Mr. Reinhold said Mr. Springette was last seen in Augusta in 1994 and has been tied to Augusta and Atlanta since then.

"Over the years, we've taken off quite a few of his dealers here," Mr. Reinhold said, referring to Augusta. "The problem with any drug organization is there's always someone there to take their spot."

The FBI is asking Augusta area residents to contact them with information about Mr. Springette. Officials believe he is probably in the Caribbean at the moment, but his whereabouts remain uncertain.

"We're not saying he's not here," Mr. Reinhold said. "We just don't have any information to suggest that. If people know anybody who might be associated with him, we just ask them to contact us."

Mr. Reinhold said Mr. Springette has been responsible for smuggling at least 40 tons of cocaine into the United States. He also is wanted in the attempted slaying of a police officer in the British Virgin Islands, where, Mr. Reinhold said, Mr. Springette was involved in a shootout with police.

"I just want to make sure we emphasize how dangerous this guy is," Mr. Reinhold said, adding that a re-creation of Mr. Springette's shootout will be featured on America's Most Wanted.

Mr. Springette, 41, is a native of St. Thomas, and most of his family lives in the Caribbean, Mr. Reinhold said. He is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall and 240 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He speaks English and Spanish and goes by such aliases as Jimmy the Juice, Uncle, Elmo Brady, Kyle Pierce and Kent Worwell.

On television and the Internet:

Mr. Springette will be featured on Fox's America's Most Wanted at 9 p.m. May 18. The agent in charge of Mr. Springette's case also will be available to the public at 1 p.m. Thursday in a live Internet chat on the FBI's official Web site, www.fbi.gov.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3904.