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Federal Sting Operation Nabs Puerto Rican Man Attempting To Buy 100 Kilos Of Cocaine


CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 36-year-old Puerto Rican native pleaded guilty in federal court on St. Thomas to attempting to sell cocaine, federal authorities said on Tuesday.

Jose Luis Ponce-Pagan made the guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez after admitting to trying to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, according to U.S. Attorney Ronald  Sharpe said.

Ponce-Pagan’s sentencing is scheduled for July 28, Sharpe said.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court, between August 30, 2015, and September 3, 2015, Ponce-Pagan knowingly conspired with other individuals to purchase about 100 kilograms of cocaine on St. Thomas for distribution in Puerto Rico.

Ponce-Pagan faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10,000,000 fine. Ponce-Pagan remains in custody pending sentencing.

This case is the result of a joint investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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