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Man In ‘Compression Shirt’ To Hide 2.35 Pounds Of Cocaine Strapped To His Underwear Pleads Guilty

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A man who tried to smuggle 2.35 pounds of cocaine strapped to his body going through King Airport on St. Thomas one year ago admitted to his role as part of a plea bargain agreement with federal prosecutors today.

Miguel Batista, Jr., 27, of St. Thomas, pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute in U.S. District Court, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 4, 2021.

According to court records, on October 12, 2019, Miguel Batista, Jr., was selected for inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents during routine screening at the Cyril E. King International Airport.

During the inspection, federal agents found a vacuum-sealed package of cocaine weighing approximately 1.07 kilograms taped to Batista’s torso which was concealed under a compression shirt and another layer of clothing.

Sari Koshetz, a spokesperson for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration based out of Daytona, Florida, was asked if Batista ever worked for the TSA.

“The individual was a probationary employee of TSA for six months in 2018.” Koshetz told the Virgin Islands Free Press.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

It was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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