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Press Release


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

St. Croix, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Rodney de Roche, 39, of Grenada, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Emile A. Henderson, III to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine on Board a Vessel Subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States. For his conviction, de Roche faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for September 4, 2024. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

According to court documents, on November 15, 2023, the United States Coast Guard intercepted a vessel approximately 116 nautical miles west of Fort de France, Martinique, a known drug trafficking area. On board the vessel, officers observed multiple packages tied to sandbags being thrown overboard. One of the packages recovered from the ocean contained 32 kilograms of cocaine. De Roche was one of six individuals found on the vessel. The master of the vessel claimed Grenadian nationality for the vessel and the Government of Grenada granted a waiver of jurisdiction for the case and waived objection to the enforcement of United States laws.

This case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel H. Huston. 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 May 8, 2024

Drug Trafficking