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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Caribbean Narcotics Traffickers Found Guilty By A Federal Jury

Tampa, Florida – Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury today found Yugool Persaud (61, Guyana) and Desmond Wilson (54, Guyana) guilty of two counts of violating the U.S. Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act. Persaud and Wilson face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.  Their sentencing is scheduled for February 20, 2014. 

Persaud and Wilson were indicted on September 5, 2013.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment on board the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship WAVE KNIGHT observed a suspicious fishing vessel, the MISS TIFFANY, transiting a known drug trafficking corridor in the Caribbean Sea.  When the WAVE KNIGHT called over the radio, the MISS TIFFANY began evasive maneuvers, while jettisoning white bales overboard.  U.S. Coast Guard boarding teams recovered 1,265 kilograms of marijuana from the jettison fields, boarded the MISS TIFFANY, and detained Persaud and Wilson. Both men were turned over to special agents from Panama Express Strike Force.        

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.  It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Meyer and Assistant United States Attorney Shauna Hale. 

Panama Express Strike Force (PANEX) is a federally approved Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) consisting of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Coast Guard, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  Operation Panama Express currently targets South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for smuggling drugs to the United States and elsewhere for distribution.

Updated January 26, 2015