CHARLOTTE AMALIE – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested six men from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on a criminal complaint charging them with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Three Dominican nationals, Alexandro Gerandino-Aracena, 39, Marco Asala, 35, and Pedro Antion Beltre Guzman, 36, and three men from Puerto Rico, Ricardo Cardona, 35, Wilfredo Perez, 30, and Jose Luis Ponce, 36, made their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller on September 4, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.
Judge Miller remanded the men into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending a preliminary and detention hearing on September 8.
According to the complaint, the men conspired to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine. The maximum sentence for conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute is life in prison and a fine of $50 million.
Sharpe reminded the public that a complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This case is the result of a joint investigation by the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.