CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 44-year-old native of the Dominican Republic was convicted in federal court of trying to smuggle 12.78 pounds of cocaine into St. Thomas
After a one-day trial, on October 4, 2016, a federal jury on St. Thomas found Tomas Liriano Castillo guilty of Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver and Illegal Entry, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.
Castillo faces a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison on the conspiracy and possession with intent charges, and six months in prison for the illegal entry charge, Sharpe said.
District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez remanded Castillo to the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing on February 2, 2017.
Evidence presented at trial established that on or about May 9, 2016, Castillo traveled by boat from Tortola to Hull Bay, St. Thomas. The evidence at trial also showed that Castillo got off the boat with a back pack that he tried to discard when he saw agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration approaching him.
Testimony at trial further established that when the back pack was recovered, it contained approximately 5.8 kilograms of cocaine, and that Castillo is not in the Virgin Islands lawfully.
The case was investigated by the DEA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte and Everard Potter.