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Nicaraguan Native Gets Almost 6 Years For Smuggling 1,212 Pounds of Cocaine

Nicaraguan Native Gets Almost 6 Years For Smuggling 1,212 Pounds of Cocaine

CHRISTIANSTED — A Nicaraguan national was given nearly six years in prison after his conviction on federal drug charges relating to the seizure of bulk cocaine off the coast of Colombia.

Adalberto Gutierrez-Picado, 27, of Managua, was handed a sentence of 70 months in prison on February 21,, by U.S. District Judge Wilma A. Lewis, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith said.

In addition, Judge Lewis ordered Gutierrez-Picado’s period of incarceration to be followed by two years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Smith said.

According to court documents, on March 5, 2022, during its patrol in international waters in the
Eastern Pacific, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Legare observed a go-fast style
vessel, “La Bendecida Leo”, 140 nautical miles, southwest of Isla de Malpelo, traveling at a high
rate of speed with bundles and fuel barrels observed on deck.

The USCG crew next observed occupants of the La Bendecida Leo throwing bundles of suspected narcotics overboard. Crew members then launched an over-the-horizon vessel and helicopter to intercept.

Upon intercepting the vessel, USCG crew members observed that the La Bendecida Leo had no
registration and the occupants claimed Nicaraguan nationality for the vessel.

Nicaragua could neither confirm nor deny nationality of the vessel to the USCG.

A search of the La Bendecida Leo, including the bundles of suspected narcotics recovered from the ocean, resulted in the seizure of approximately 550.6 kilograms of cocaine and 136 pounds of marijuana.

The USCG, Homeland Security Investigation, and Drug Enforcement Administration investigated
the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston prosecuted the case.

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