3 Puerto Rico men plead guilty in Stumpy Bay cocaine trafficking bust

3 Puerto Rico men plead guilty in Stumpy Bay cocaine trafficking bust

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Three Puerto Rican men have admitted to their roles in a cocaine distribution conspiracy at Stumpy Bay in St. Thomas.  

Pedro Ramos-Ramirez, 28, Gerald Cruz, 26, and Johnny Arias Rodriquez, 28, all of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith said.

According to court documents, on December 29, 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations interdicted a go-fast vessel with the three men onboard.

The vessel was operating without navigational lights north of Stumpy Bay, St. Thomas.

The officers also observed a flashing light onboard the vessel and a simultaneous flashing light on the shoreline of Stumpy Bay.

While pursuing the vessel, Ramos Rivera, the caption of the vessel, took sharp, erratic turns to evade the officers while Cruz and Arias Rodriquez tossed bales of cocaine from the vessel into the sea.

The vessel was disabled and the bales which totaled 75 kilograms of cocaine were recovered from the Caribbean Sea.

For their convictions, the defendants face a possible mandatory sentence of 10 years to life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000,000.00.

A district judge will determine the appropriate sentence after considering the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other sentencing factors.

This case was investigated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard E. Potter.