CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Dominican Republic national who fired on federal agents with an assault rifle on a beach used for offloading large shipments of narcotics faces a possible life sentence after a guilty plea in federal court, authorities said.
Rammer Guerrero Morales, of Santo Domingo, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller in U.S. District Court and entered a guilty plea to the charges of Possession and Discharge of Firearms During and In Relation to a Crime of Violence (18 U.S.C. § 924) and Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers or Employees (18 U.S.C. § 111), U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said, adding that the sentencing date will be set by the court.
The charges stem from a shooting involving Joan Morales Nolasco, Rammer Guerrero-Morales, and Samuel Elias Pena Columna, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Interdiction Agents in St. John on September 25, 2019, which took place during an attempted narcotics deal planned by the aforementioned defendants. Guerrero Morales and Pena Columna were previously arrested and are currently awaiting trial. The three defendants face up to life in federal prison.
According to Court documents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations conducted a maritime drug interdiction operation on the north coast of St. John, near Haulover Bay on September 25, 2019.
This area is a known smuggling location where traffickers offload large shipments of narcotics and U.S. currency. This location contains a trail that leads from the main road down to the beach of Haulover Bay.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Interdiction agents observed two individuals, who were armed on a trail that leads down to the beach at Haulover Bay.
The federal gents identified themselves as “police.” Immediately thereafter, the individuals fired at the federal agents.
One CBP Air and Marine Interdiction agent was wounded by the rounds fired by the individuals.
The accused, Guerrero Morales, was wounded by shots fired in self defense by CBP Air and Marine agents.
CBP Air and Marine Agents recovered two firearms at the scene, described as an AR-15 style .223 caliber rifle and a Glock .40 caliber pistol with an extended magazine.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Juan Albino.
The case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highestlevel drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.