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HomeNewsPolice & CourtsNicaraguan National Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Transporting 550 Kilograms...

Nicaraguan National Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Transporting 550 Kilograms of Cocaine

A Nicaraguan national, Jorge Adalberto Gutierrez-Picado, 27, was sentenced by Judge Wilma A. Lewis on federal drug charges relating to the seizure of bulk cocaine off the coast of Colombia. On February 21, Judge Lewis sentenced Gutierrez-Picado to 70 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith announced Monday.

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, according to the documents.

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