Three Puerto Rican men were arrested on Dec. 29, 2021, in St. Thomas, USVI, on criminal charges related to their alleged possession with intent to distribute cocaine on board a covered vessel.
According to court documents, on Dec. 29, 2021, Pedro Juan Ramos-Ramirez, Johny Arias Rodriguez, and Gerald Albert Cruz were on-board a vessel in United States customs waters traveling at night without navigation lights.
Agents from United States Customs and Border Protection, Air, and Marine Operations (“CBP-AMO”) activated their vessel’s blue emergency lights, siren, and navigation lights. Two passengers on the vessel allegedly began throwing bags overboard, at which point the operator varied the speed of the boat and drove erratically with an alleged attempt to evade the CBP-AMO agents.
The three individuals on the vessel were then taken into custody. The agents found three black duffel bags on board containing seventy-five-kilogram packages of cocaine.
The three men are 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 the men are convicted, they face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. A federal district court judge will determine their sentence. In addition, CBP-AMO and Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Sleeper 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.