Puerto Rican Man Arrested For Smuggling $100,000 In U.S. Currency To St. Thomas
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested one Puerto Rican boat captain for attempting to smuggle more than $100,000 in cash by sea to St. Thomas.
Blas Sebastian Panzardi Davila of San Juan, appeared Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller for an initial appearance after his arrest on Thursday evening for currency smuggling, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.
According to court records, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) interdicted a vessel traveling from the area of Culebra, Puerto Rico towards St. Thomas at about 9:10 p.m., without navigation lights.
Davila captained the vessel with no passengers aboard. CBP boarded the vessel and discovered in excess of $100,000 in vacuum-sealed plastic bags.
The government charged Davila with concealing and conspiring to conceal currency in excess of $100,000 on board a vessel outfitted for smuggling.
If convicted, Davila faces a maximum sentence of 15 years’ incarceration.
This case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Everard Potter.
Shappert said a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document, and it is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.
Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.