Puerto Rico Man Detained in Illegal Shipment of Firearms Case
St. Thomas, USVI – United States Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller today ordered the detention of Emmanuel Benel Cuadrado, 24, of Puerto Rico, who was arrested Sunday at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas and charged with illegally shipping firearms into the Virgin Islands, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
Benel Cuadrado made his initial appearance in District Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller on Monday, and was ordered held without bail pending today’s detention and preliminary hearing. According to documents filed in District Court, Customs and Border Protection officers and agents of Homeland Security Investigations intercepted a brown box that Benel Cuadrado placed on a Jet Blue flight traveling from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas on April 13th. The package contained three firearms, one Glock and two Smith and Wesson firearms. The three firearms were removed from the box and replaced with two fake firearms, and the box was allowed to continue on to St. Thomas. Upon Jet Blue’s arrival in St. Thomas, Benel Cuadrado retrieved the brown box from the airport’s baggage claim area.
If convicted, Benel Cuadrado faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison. This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard E. Potter.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint is merely a charging document and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.