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Dominican And Venezuelan Charged With Trying To Smuggle 11 Pounds Of Coke

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Two men, a Dominican and a Venezuelan, were charged in federal court with trying to bring 11 pounds of cocaine into the region, authorities said.

Pedro Ramos-Guerra and Carlos Alberto Cuevas-Almonte were charged in a Bill of Indictment returned by a Grand Jury on November 21 with Conspiracy to Possess and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute on Board a Vessel Subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States, and with Destroying Property Subject to Forfeiture Under Section 511(a) of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

The court filings allege that on October 24, Ramos-Guerra, a Venezuelan national, and Cuevas-Almonte, a Dominican national, were onboard a go-fast vessel first sighted by United States Customs and Border Protection approximately 75 nautical miles south of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

The vessel displayed no indicia of nationality. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Diligence was tasked to intercept the vessel.

The go-fast vessel failed to comply with USCG instructions to heave to. Instead, bales of suspected drugs were tossed overboard. After the USCG fired warning shots, the go-fast vessel became dead in the water.

The go-fast vessel’s occupants pulled plugs on board the vessel and, after taking on water, the go-fast vessel completely submerged.

The USCG recovered from the vessel more than five kilograms of a substance that field tested positive for cocaine.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Sleeper.

Shappert said that a criminal indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty,” she said.

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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 50 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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