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Press Release

Florida Woman Apprehended at the Cyril E. King Airport is Convicted of Smuggling Marijuana to St. Thomas

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Virgin Islands


St. Thomas, USVI – United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert for the District of the Virgin Islands announced that Raquel Rivera was convicted at trial yesterday after smuggling marijuana into St. Thomas.

According to evidence presented at trial, Rivera was stopped on April 22, 2020 at the Cyril E. King airport after arriving on St. Thomas from Miami, FL. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers then searched the luggage she was carrying, including one suitcase checked in Rivera’s name and one checked in the name of someone else. Inside, officers found 12 identical, vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana concealed in various items of clothing, including jeans, towels, and a Hello Kitty blanket. In total, Rivera had nearly six kilograms of marijuana in both suitcases, and when interviewed by officers that day she gave conflicting accounts of what was in the suitcases and who packed them.

This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations and CBP. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Natasha Baker and Nathan Brooks, and 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.

Rivera will be sentenced at a later date.

Updated May 13, 2021