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Puerto Rican With $45K In ‘Bulk Cash’ Going Through STX Airport Could Get Five Years For Guilty Plea



CHRISTIANSTED – A native of Puerto Rico admitted in federal court on Wednesday to traveling with $45,249 in undeclared money through the St. Croix airport, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ramon Lacen-Santiago, 41, of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Golden Rock to conspiracy to commit bulk cash smuggling, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

On March 25, 2012, agents of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force received information that a person associated with Lacen-Santiago would be travelling with a large amount of cash through the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix.

During a security check of Lacen-Santiago and his co-defendant, a police dog signaled on two of their bags.

Lacen-Santiago’s bag contained $6,249. A search of his person revealed another $39,000 in his pockets. Lacen-Santiago told the agents that he was travelling to St. Martin with the co-defendant. A search of his co-defendant uncovered $38,270 concealed on his person.

Neither individual reported the cash as required by law, Sharpe said. The co-defendant’s trial is pending.

Lacen-Santiago faces up to five years of imprisonment for the offense and a fine of up to $250,000. A sentencing date has been set for January 13, 2017.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alphonso Andrews, Jr.


 Henry Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix.

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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