CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Two Viequensians taking $100,000 cash to St. Thomas on a boat not using operational lights were arrested Monday and charged with smuggling.
Julius Alvarez-Gonzalez, 31, and Jimmy Yovanny Garcia-Quinonez ,22, of Vieques, Puerto Rico, were arrested on criminal charges related to their alleged involvement in concealing or attempting to conceal more than $100,000 in currency aboard a vessel outfitted for smuggling, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said Tuesday.
According to court documents, Alvarez-Gonzalez and Garcia-Quinonez were stopped on the evening of July 26, 2021 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agents, west of St. Thomas.
The two Puerto Ricans were operating a vessel at night, without navigational lights and headed towards Barents Bay. As agents approached, they observed a large duffel bag being thrown overboard. The bag was later recovered and contained more than $100,000.
Alvarez-Gonzalez and Garcia-Quinonez are each charged with a violation of Title 46 United States Code, Section 70503(a)(3), which makes it a crime to possess more than $100,000 U.S. currency onboard a vessel outfitted for smuggling. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations and Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Natasha Baker is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.