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HomeNewsPolice & CourtsTwo Plead Guilty to Trying to Smuggle Cash into St. Thomas

Two Plead Guilty to Trying to Smuggle Cash into St. Thomas

Two men pleaded guilty Thursday to attempting to smuggle more than $1 million into St. Thomas by boat, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced.

Jose Ernesto Vazquez Colon and Abnel Belordo Colon pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Thomas.

According to court documents filed in the case, late in the evening of Sept. 20, Customs and Border Protection Marine Unit agents noticed a boat traveling without navigational lights about three miles north of Savana Island. When CBP attempted to initiate a stop, the two individuals on the boat began throwing bags overboard, and these were later found to contain more than $1 million in cash.

After CBP agents disabled the boat’s motor they boarded and found, in addition to the two defendants, multiple dumbbells with ropes attached. According to the affidavit filed in the case, these are often used to ensure that any contraband materials thrown overboard will sink to the bottom, so that they can be picked up later using GPS.

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This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Sleeper and Nathan Brooks.

The defendants’s sentencing date was not scheduled.

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Two men pleaded guilty Thursday to attempting to smuggle more than $1 million into St. Thomas by boat, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced. Jose Ernesto Vazquez Colon and Abnel Belordo Colon pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Thomas. According to court documents filed in the case, late in the evening of Sept. 20, Customs and Border Protection Marine Unit agents noticed a boat traveling without navigational lights about three miles north of Savana Island. When CBP attempted to initiate a stop, the two individuals on the boat began throwing bags overboard, and these were later found to contain more than $1 million in cash. After CBP agents disabled the boat’s motor they boarded and found, in addition to the two defendants, multiple dumbbells with ropes attached. According to the affidavit filed in the case, these are often used to ensure that any contraband materials thrown overboard will sink to the bottom, so that they can be picked up later using GPS. This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Sleeper and Nathan Brooks. The defendants's sentencing date was not scheduled.