At VIFreepBreaking NewsCaribbean NewsCrime NewsPolice NewsPuerto Rico NewsSt. Thomas NewsU.S. Department of Justice

Puerto Rico Boat Captain Gets 2.5 Years For Smuggling $287,660 Cash Into St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced that Arioc Diaz Melendez, 28, from Puerto Rico, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for concealing $287,660 in U.S. currency while onboard a vessel outfitted for smuggling.

According to court documents, Arioc Diaz Melendez was the captain of a vessel that was traveling without navigation lights at approximately 2:00 A.M. on September 30, 2019 north of Savana Island, U.S. Virgin Islands.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) marine units identified the vessel and pulled their vessel alongside the 24-foot yola-type vessel that was operating without lights.

CBP agents activated their police blue lights and discharged a flare to convince the other vessel to yield.

When CBP agents attempted to initiate a stop, the other vessel did not yield but instead increased speed.

The CBP agents shot one round into one of the engines of the other vessel at which point the vessel decreased speed and stopped.

Agents observed Arioc Diaz Melendez speaking to the passenger of the vessel, identified as co-defendant Jose C. Diaz Melendez, at which point Jose C. Diaz Melendez threw a duffel bag overboard.

The bag was recovered by CBP agents and later found to contain $287,660.00 in U.S. currency and a Glock firearm.

After CBP agents disabled one of the boat’s motor, they boarded the vessel, and apprehended the captain, Arioc Diaz Melendez, and the passenger, Jose C. Diaz Melendez, of the vessel.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and (CBP) investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan Albino prosecuted the case.

Previous post

St. Croix Man Gunned Down At Queen Bee Grocery In Williams Delight: VIPD

Next post

VIDOJ Gets $400,000 Award From Feds To Track Sex Offenders In The USVI

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *