United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced that three British Virgin Islands citizens and one citizen of the Dominican Republic were arrested today, Jan. 9, 2022, on criminal charges related to their alleged possession with intent to distribute 667 kilograms of cocaine on board a vessel apprehended yesterday near St. Croix.
According to court documents, on Jan. 9, 2022, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (CBP-AMO), along with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), detected a thirty-two feet vessel headed north towards the vicinity of the British Virgin Islands. When law enforcement approached the vessel, it was dead in the water.
British Virgin Islands resident Shannon John was captaining the vessel. Sean John and Emmanuel Tolentino-Lebron, both from the BVI, and Augusto Rodriquez-Molina, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, were passengers on the vessel. Federal authorities located approximately 667 kilograms of cocaine packaged in about 20 block-shaped bales onboard.
All four men were arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine on a covered vessel and conspiracy to commit the same offense. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
A federal district court judge will determine the sentence. CBP-AMO and Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the case, and Assistant US Attorney Everard E. Potter is prosecuting the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.
Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.