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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Virgin Islands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Approximately $2.25 Million in U.S. Currency Seized in Joint Federal Maritime Operation off the Western Coast of St. Thomas

St. Croix, USVI – United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced today that On June 10, 2020, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs Border Patrol-Air Marine Operation (CBP-AMO) personnel reported that while on duty in the western vicinity of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, they spotted a vessel travelling towards St. Thomas from Puerto Rico without navigational lights. CBP-AMO officers observed two subjects on the unknown vessel, which was described as a 25’ twin engine “yola,” tossing duffle bags overboard as CBP-AMO approached. Federal law enforcement officers engaged in apprehension efforts and attempted to board the unidentified vessel.

The vessel was able to evade law enforcement during the pursuit, however, DHS and CBP-AMO officers later recovered four duffel bags that had been thrown overboard. A search of the four recovered duffel bags revealed approximately $2.25 million in bulk U.S. currency that was vacuum sealed within numerous bundles of plastic wrappings. This seizure is part of an ongoing joint federal initiative between the United States Attorney’s Office District of the Virgin Islands, HSI, DEA, FBI, ATF, IRS-CI and CBP-AMO as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) which is focused on disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations in the Caribbean and which seeks to seize and forfeit the proceeds of criminal activity.

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Updated June 17, 2020