News and Press Releases

Three St. Thomas Men Sentenced Today for their Roles in a Drug Conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2014

St. Thomas, USVI - District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez today sentenced Ignacio Batis- Joseph, age 37, to 70 months of incarceration and five years of supervised release, Omar Norberto James-Byar, age 37, to 46 months of incarceration and five years of supervised release, and Eldry Santos-Guzman, age 33, to 33 months of incarceration and four years of supervised release. Batis-Joseph, James-Byar and Santos-Guzman are residents of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Each defendant was sentenced for his role in a drug conspiracy that ended in the seizure of 85 kilograms of cocaine, announced United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent-in-Charge Vito Guarino.

On December 11, 2013, James-Byar and Batis-Joseph pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess narcotics with the intent to distribute and Santos Guzman pleaded to the same charges on December 13, 2013.

According to the plea documents filed in court, in August of 2013, Batis-Joseph contacted a DEA Task Force Officer acting in an undercover capacity for the purpose of conducting a transaction involving the sale of 100 kilograms of cocaine. Thereafter, the Page -2- defendant encouraged the officer to travel to St. Thomas in order to purchase the 100 kilograms of cocaine. On September 11, 2013, the officer contacted Batis-Joseph and informed him that he was on his way to St. Thomas and would purchase 10 kilograms of cocaine. Later that day, Batis-Joseph arrived at the Crown Bay Marina in a red Ford Explorer, along with James-Byar and Santos-Guzman. During the meeting with the officer, a red Cost U Less bag that contained approximately 11 kilograms of cocaine was produced by the defendants and given to the officer to inspect. When the officer informed Batis-Joseph that the money was on the way, Batis-Joseph told James-Byar and Santos-Guzman to leave the area. James-Byar and Santos-Guzman were arrested as they attempted to leave the parking lot. Batis-Joseph was arrested at the scene. After the arrest, 74 kilograms of cocaine was found at an apartment in downtown Charlotte Amalie.

U.S. Attorney Sharpe commended the efforts of the DEA which investigated the case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ishmael A. Meyers, Jr.

 

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