COSTA RICAN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO TRANSPORT MARIJUANA
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Virgin Islands
St. Croix, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Luis Antonio Orellana-Orellano, 69, of Costa Rica, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Emile A. Henderson, III, to conspiracy to transport approximately 4,000 pounds of marijuana onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Magistrate Judge Henderson scheduled Orellana-Orellana’s sentencing hearing for October 21, 2023, where he faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
According to court documents, on November 7, 2022, the United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Campbell observed a go-fast vessel while patrolling in international waters approximately 65 nautical miles South of Boca Chica, Panama. USCGC Campbell intercepted the go-fast vessel “Agamenon” which had no physical flag flown, no registration documents, nor registration number painted on its hull. Bales of contraband was visible on the deck of the vessel along with three occupants, including Orellana-Orellana. The master of the Agamenon claimed Colombian nationality for the vessel, but Colombia neither confirm nor deny nationality of the vessel. The Almamenon was therefore treated as a vessel without nationality subjecting it to the jurisdiction of the United States. A search of the vessel revealed approximately 57 bales of suspected marijuana weighting 4,104 pounds. Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory testing subsequently confirmed that the substance seized was marijuana. The remaining occupants of the Agamenon, Keyran Coto Lopez and Alonso Hernandez-Hernandez, are detained pending trial in this matter.
This case was investigated by U.S. Coast Guard and the Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Melissa P. Ortiz. This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
Updated June 27, 2023