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Seventh of Seven Venezuelans Admits To Bringing 357 Pounds of Marijuana To USVI

CHRISTIANSTED – The seventh of seven Venezuelans admitted in federal court that he helped bring 357 pounds of marijuana into the territory.

Roman Jose Aguilera Gig, 39, of Venezuela, pled guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court to one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance on Board a Vessel, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

This federal offense carries a possible sentence of up to 40 years in prison, a maximum fine of up to $5,000,000 dollars, and a term of supervised release of at least two years. Sentencing is set for February 27, 2019.

According to court documents, on May 8, 2017, at approximately 3:45 p.m., a patrol aircraft associated with the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force South located a northbound go-fast vessel (GFV) approximately 105 nautical miles west of Martinique traveling at a speed of 25 knots.

The vessel was located in a known drug trafficking route. It had five outboard engines and contained multiple fuel barrels and suspicious packages visible on deck.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley was directed to intercept the vessel. Upon arrival, the crew of the GFV
were observed tossing the suspicious packages and fuel barrels overboard.

Ultimately, the crew of the Cutter Donald Horsley recovered eight bound packages, which contained approximately 162 kilograms (357 pounds) of marijuana. Gig was one of seven Venezuelan national crew members on board the GFV.

Gig is now the final and seventh person to enter a guilty plea. Juan Rodriguez previously entered a guilty plea on August 13, 2018.

Jesus Garcia and Jhoan Gomez entered a guilty plea on August 15, 2018.

Felix Gomez and Rosauro Morao entered a guilty plea on August 22, 2018. Manual Rodriguez entered a guilty plea on September 20, 2018.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

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.

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