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Press Release


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

St. Thomas, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Sammy Monell-Osorio, 31, of Puerto Rico, was sentenced by Chief District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy to 108 months of imprisonment 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. Judge Molloy also sentenced Monell-Osorio 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 Marine Interdiction officers detected a vessel traveling without navigational lights on the west side of St. Thomas heading towards Puerto Rico. Osorio, the captain of the vessel, attempted to evade the officers when they ordered him to stop. The occupants of Osorio’s vessel then threw a black bag overboard before the vessel was disabled for failure to heave to the officer’s commands. The black bag containing 18 kilograms of cocaine was later retrieved from the ocean.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Marine Interdiction Unit and Homeland Security Investigations investigated this case and Assistant United States Attorneys Everard Potter and Natasha Baker prosecuted the case.

The 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 May 5, 2023

Drug Trafficking