A BVI man was sentenced to close to six years in prison for smuggling cocaine, United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced Tuesday.
35-year-old Sean John of Tortola was sentenced to 70 months imprisonment on his conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine while on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. John was also sentenced to two years of supervised release and a special assessment of $100.00.
According to court documents, on Jan. 9, 2022, Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agents detected a vessel with bales of suspected cocaine in plain view on the vessel’s deck. The vessel was traveling on the northeast side of St. Croix, heading north towards the British Virgin Islands. Upon further investigation, agents encountered a 32-foot Manta low-profile vessel with twin 300 HP outboard engines located at approximately 19 nautical miles northeast of St. Croix in international waters in an area known by law enforcement for drug trafficking. The vessel was dead in the water and displayed no indicia of nationality, flag or registration, and was determined to be a vessel without nationality, thus subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Onboard the vessel, agents discovered 21 bales wrapped in plastic and encased in rope four. Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory analysis later confirmed that the 21 bales recovered from the vessel contained approximately 567 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride. Also onboard the vessel were defendants Shannon John, Sean John, Emmanuel Tolentino-Lebron and Augusto Rodriguez Molina, all of whom pleaded guilty to the cocaine conspiracy charge.