One Individual Pleads Guilty To Importation Of Cocaine
SAN JUAN, P.R. – Eduard Bueno-Beltrán pled guilty to all counts of an indictment which charged him with importation of controlled substances, conspiracy to import controlled substances, and two counts of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board a vessel under the jurisdiction of the United States, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. This guilty plea finalized a drug trafficking investigation and prosecution by the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the US Coast Guard, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico. United States District Court Judge Gustavo A. Gelpí presided the case.
On March 17, 2015 at around 2:00 am, a maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) detected a go-fast vessel heading eastbound in international waters, approximately 20 nautical miles north of the coast of Miches, Dominican Republic. The vessel was operating without navigation lights at night along a known smuggling route. The patrol aircraft observed packages being jettisoned from the go-fast vessel. The boarding team intercepted the go-fast vessel in international waters and conducted a search. They recovered nine (9) bales containing brick-shaped objects with a white powdery substance, one (1) cellular telephone and one (1) Global Positioning System (GPS) device. A field test of the substance within the bales was conducted by USCG personnel and yielded a positive result for cocaine.
An individual identified as Eduard Bueno-Beltrán claimed to be the master of the vessel. The other two subjects involved were identified as Ismael King-Almeida, who already pled guilty, and Pedro Antonio Berroa-Bonilla, who passed away due to preexisting conditions; all Dominican Republic nationals. A total of approximately 205 bricks of cocaine weighing approximately 229.2 kilograms were seized. These defendants are exposed to a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison for the drug trafficking conspiracy.
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Eugenio Lomba and Nicholas Smith.