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Press Release

Puerto Rican Man Sentenced to 40 Months in Federal Prison for Smuggling $3.75 Million Onboard a Vessel Interdicted Near Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI

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

St. Thomas, USVI – U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced that Jerry Kirkland-Marrero, 31, from Puerto Rico, was sentenced today to 40 months imprisonment, followed by 30 months of supervised release, for conspiracy to conceal more than $100,000 on board a vessel outfitted for smuggling.

According to court documents, Kirkland-Marrero was one of three occupants on a vessel that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (CBP AMO) interdicted in the waters near Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI, on the night of April 21, 2020. The vessel was stopped after agents noticed it entering the area without its lights illuminated. As CBO AMO initiated a stop of the vessel, agents observed the vessel’s occupants throwing duffle bags overboard. The agents recovered three duffle bags from the water, as well as a fourth bag that one of the occupants had been in the process of trying to throw overboard when the agents boarded the vessel. Each of the duffle bags contained vacuum sealed bundles of U.S. currency, with a combined total value of approximately $3,765,740 in U.S. currency. One of the bags was equipped with a GPS tracker.

Court documents further reveal that, while on release pending resolution of this case, Kirkland-Marrero’s two co-defendants were fatally gunned down in Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith J. Edwards prosecuted the case, which 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 November 23, 2021

Drug Trafficking