PUERTO RICAN MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS ON COCAINE POSSESSION CHARGE
St. Thomas, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Carlos Caez-Torres, 45, of Puerto Rico, was sentenced by District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy to 120 months incarceration on his conviction of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance while on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Molloy also sentenced Caez-Torres to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a special assessment of $100.00.
According to court documents, in the early morning hours of February 28, 2023, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Marine Interdiction Unit detected a vessel with two people onboard traveling without navigational lights on the west side of St. Thomas heading towards Puerto Rico. CBP approached the vessel ordering it to stop, but the operator of the vessel refused to comply. The occupants of the vessel were observed throwing a black bag into the ocean. CBP disabled the vessel and later retrieved the black bag from the ocean which contained 18 kilograms of cocaine.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case, and Assistant United States Attorneys Everard Potter and Natasha Baker prosecuted this case. 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.