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Dominican National Sentenced To Just 1.75 Years In Prison For Cash And Guns For Drugs At UVI Conspiracy


CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 35-year-old national of the Dominican Republic was sentenced to only 1.75 years in prison for his role in a cash and assault rifles for cocaine conspiracy that was to take place on the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Marco Asala-Belgar was given 21 months’ imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release for misprision of a felony by U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Judge Gomez also ordered Asala-Belgar to pay a $100 special assessment and perform 200 hours of community service, Sharpe said.

During his trial in April, Asala-Belgar pleaded guilty to charges related to not telling federal authorities that he was committing a felony crime.

Two of his co-defendants, Alexandro Gerandino-Aracena, 39, of the Dominican Republic, and Ricardo Cardona, 35, of Puerto Rico, were found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and various firearms possession charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to Asala-Belgar’s plea agreement and evidence presented at trial, on September 3, 2015, Gerandino-Aracena, Cardona, and another co-defendant, Pedro Guzman, 35, of the Dominican Republic, traveled in a private vessel from Fajardo, Puerto Rico to the Marine Center Dock at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI)on St. Thomas to purchase 100 kilograms of cocaine.

Upon arrival in St. Thomas, they met with other conspirators to collect the cocaine in exchange for $250,000 and three assault rifles. Asala-Belgar drove the green Ford Explorer that delivered the money for the cocaine.

UVI President David Hall did not immediately respond to a request for information about why the UVI Marine Center Dock On St. Thomas was being made readily available for illegal drug and guns conspiracies.

When Asala-Belgar was interviewed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, he did not tell the agents that his co-defendants had arranged to deliver the money in exchange for cocaine.

The case was investigated by the DEA, FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte and Delia Smith.


WHERE THE DRUG DEAL WAS TO TAKE PLACE: The University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus.

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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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