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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Two Men Admit They Were Crew Members Aboard a Go-Fast Vessel Full of Cocaine; Plead Guilty to Drug Charges

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Walker Hobson (619) 961-0287

 

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY –  January 18, 2018

 

SAN DIEGO – Roberto Carlos Sanchez-Loor and Jose Antonio Gomez-Cuzme, both Ecuadorian nationals, pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiracy to distribute and cause the distribution of approximately 980 kilograms of cocaine, knowing that the cocaine would be unlawfully imported into the United States.

 

Each defendant admitted that they were crew members on board a stateless go-fast vessel (GFV) in international waters approximately 110 nautical miles southwest of the Guatemalan and El Salvadorian border and that they were helping transport the cocaine northward for distribution into the United States.

   

According to court documents, on May 23, 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) interdicted the GFV in international waters after a maritime patrol aircraft initially detected the GFV with three persons onboard.   The USCG Cutter Waesche interdicted the GFV.

 

The defendants will appear for sentencing on April 6, 2018 before U.S. District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw. The remaining defendant, Edwin Cristobal Vera-Solorzano, is set for a motion hearing on January 26, 2018 at 2 p.m.

 

Bales of Cocaine Seized from GFV

Blue GFV containing bales of cocaine

Individual cocaine packages weighing 980 kilograms taken from GFV.

 

This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.

 

DEFENDANTS                                   Criminal Case No.17CR1656DMS

 

ROBERTO CARLOS SANCHEZ-LOOR                        32 years old      Ecuador

JOSE ANTONION GOMEZ-CUZME                              31 years old      Ecuador

 

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

 

Conspiracy to distribute cocaine intending to unlawfully import into the United States

21 U.S.C. 959, 960 and 963

 

Maximum Penalty: Ten-year mandatory minimum to life; fine of $1 million

 

AGENCIES

 

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)

Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

 

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
CAS18-0118-Sanchez
Updated January 18, 2018