Broward County Man Charged with Possession with Intent To Distribute Marijuana
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), announced that Broward County resident Jaime Sotomayor Vega, 35, of Hollywood, was charged on Friday, February 8, 2013 with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(vii). If convicted, Vega faces a mandatory maximum term of incarceration of 5 years and a maximum term of incarceration of up to 40 years imprisonment.
According to the criminal complaint and information presented in Court, on February 7, 2013, while on patrol of the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach County, a Town of Palm Beach law enforcement officer observed and approached the vessel operated by Vega. Vega advised he was fishing but had engine trouble and that he was just waiting for his friends to arrive with the vessel trailer. Due to this and other unusual circumstances, the officer became suspicious and called the Department of Homeland Security Investigations for assistance. While conducting further investigation, it was determined that the vessel was stolen.
A dog from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit was summoned to the scene and alerted to the presence of narcotics in the forward area of the vessel. Further investigation revealed several packages in various shapes, sizes, and colored wrappings were marijuana. The vessel contained approximately 96 packages of marijuana, weighing an estimated 667.85 pounds.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, the Town of Palm Beach Police Department, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Marine Interdiction Agents. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lothrop Morris.
A complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.