Two Dominicanos and One St. Thomian Face Life In Prison For Trying To Smuggle Six Kilos of Cocaine Into The Territory
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Two Dominican nationals and one St. Thomas man were arrested on federal drug smuggling charges on Monday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Miguel Rodriguez, 60, of St. Thomas, Estanislao de Jesus, 47, and Tomas Miguel Liriano Castillo, 44, both of the Dominican Republic, were arrested Monday on a criminal complaint charging them with one count each of possession with intent to distribute narcotics, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said this afternoon.
Rodriguez, de Jesus, and Castillo made their initial appearance in court today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller.
A detention hearing is set for May 11, 2016 for Rodriguez, and May 12, 2016 for de Jesus and Castillo. A preliminary hearing is set for May 12, 2016 for all three men.
According to the complaint, Castillo came by vessel from Tortola with six kilograms of cocaine. Castillo had made arrangements with de Jesus and Rodriguez to pick him up at Hull Bay. When the boat arrived in Hull Bay, Castillo was seen jumping from the vessel with a backpack while de Jesus and Rodriguez waited for him on shore.
When Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agents approached the men, Castillo attempted to throw the backpack under a tree. The bag was searched and six bricks of a white substance were located inside the backpack. The substance field tested positive for cocaine and weighed approximately six kilograms. It was determined that Castillo and de Jesus are in the United States illegally.
Possession with the intent to distribute cocaine carries a sentence of not less than 10 years in prison and up to life.
Sharpe reminds the public that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.
“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” he said.
The case is being investigated by the DEA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security,
Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte.