A federal jury in Charlotte Amalie on Tuesday convicted 44-year-old Tomas Liriano Castillo, a Dominican national, of a conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and illegal entry, according to U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe.
Castillo faces a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison on the conspiracy and possession with intent charges, and six months in prison for the illegal entry charge, Sharpe said.
District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez remanded Castillo to the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Feb. 2.
Evidence presented at trial established that on or about May 9, Castillo traveled by boat from Tortola to Hull Bay, St. Thomas. He got off the boat with a backpack that he tried to discard when he saw agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration approaching him, Sharpe said. When the backpack was recovered it contained approximately 5.8 kilograms of cocaine. It also was determined that Castillo is not in the Virgin Islands lawfully.
The case was investigated by the DEA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte and Everard Potter.