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Press Release

Costa Rican Man Sentenced to 37 Months for Smuggling over 4,000 Pounds of 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 Orellana-Orellana, 59, of Costa Rica, was sentenced by Judge Wilma Lewis to 37 months incarceration after pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute over 4,000 pounds of marijuana on board a vessel subject to jurisdiction of the United States.

According to court documents, on November 7, 2022, while patrolling in international waters in the Eastern Pacific, 65 nautical miles South of Boca Chica, Panama, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Campbell intercepted a go-fast vessel with no physical flag flown and no registration documents onboard. Bundles of contraband were visible on the deck of the go-fast vessel and Orellana-Orellana, Keyran Coto-Lopez and Alonso Hernandez-Hernandez were found on board. One of the three men on board claimed Colombian nationality for the go-fast vessel, but the Colombian Government neither confirmed nor denied nationality of the vessel. A search of the go-fast vessel by Coast Guard officers resulted in the recovery of 4,104 pounds of marijuana. Coto-Lopez was sentenced by Judge Lewis to 48 months following his guilty plea, and Hernandez-Hernandez awaits a sentencing date.

This case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Administration and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Melissa P. Ortiz. This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Updated January 19, 2024

Drug Trafficking