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Seven Venezuelans Get 1.75 Years In Prison And Ticket Home For Bringing 357 Pounds of Marijuana Here

CHRISTIANSTED – Seven Venezuelan men were given sentences of 1.75 years in prison for bringing 357 pounds of marijuana to the region.

Felix Gomez, 38, Roman Jose Aguilera Gig, 39, Jesus Garcia, 35, Jhoan Gomez, 29, Rosauro Morao, 46, Manual Rodriguez, 52, and Juan Rodriguez, 26, all Venezuelan nationals were sentenced today for being convicted of one count of possession of a controlled substance on board a vessel, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Visiting U.S. District Court Judge Anne E. Thompson gave each man a term of imprisonment of twenty-one (21) months and twenty-one (21) days, with credit for time served, according to Shappert.

The men have been incarcerated since their May 8, 2017 arrest.

Each was ordered deported to their native country of Venezuela, and each was ordered to pay a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.00.

According to court documents, on May 8, 2017 at approximately 3:45 p.m., a patrol aircraft affiliated with the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force South, located a northbound go-fast vessel (GFV) approximately 105 nautical miles west of Martinique traveling at a speed of 25 knots.

The GFV was travelling on a known drug trafficking route. The vessel had five outboard engines, multiple fuel barrels, and suspicious packages visible on deck. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley was directed to intercept the GFV.

As the Donald Horsely approached, members of the GFV crew tossed suspicious packages and fuel barrels overboard. Ultimately, the crew of the Cutter Donald Horsley recovered 8 bound packages, which contained approximately 162 kilograms (357 pounds) of marijuana.

The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley is a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter, stationed in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Huston and Melissa Ortiz.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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