02/24/2023 | Press release | Archived content
St. Thomas, VI - U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith announced that Wesly Albert Amaro of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Ruth Miller to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
According to court documents, on March 29, 2022, at approximately 4:00 a.m., the United States Coast Guard detected a vessel operating without navigation lights traveling at a high rate of speed from Culebra, PR, towards Hendrick Bay, St. Thomas. The vessel was later intercepted by U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection Air and Marine Operations. The vessel, operated by Amaro, attempted to flee while the co-defendant Brian Santiago Gonzalez began throwing duffel bags overboard. The engine of the vessel was disabled after Amaro failed to stop. Agents later recovered three duffel bags containing 79 kilograms of suspected narcotics which later tested positive for cocaine hydrochloride. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Payne. 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.