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Puerto Rico Native Given 10.5 Years In Prison For Trying To Buy 100 Kilos Of Cocaine In St. Thomas

100 kilos of coke

 What 100 kilos of cocaine looks like

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A federal judge sentenced a 36-year-old Puerto Rico native to 10.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to cocaine distribution conspiracy-related charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jose Luis Ponce-Pagan was ordered to serve 126 months behind bars for conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute by U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Under terms of the court decision, Ponce-Pagan also must serve five years’ supervised release and pay a $100 special assessment and perform 300 hours of community service, Sharpe said.

On March 29, 2016, Ponce-Pagan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute. According to the plea agreement filed with the court, between August 30, 2015, and September 3, 2015, Ponce-Pagan and at least one other person arranged to purchase approximately 100 kilograms of cocaine on St. Thomas for distribution in Puerto Rico.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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