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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Virgin Islands

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Puerto Rico Man Pleads Guilty to Bulk Cash Smuggling

St. Croix, USVI – Ramon Lacen-Santiago, 41, of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty on September 14, 2016, in federal court on St. Croix to conspiracy to commit bulk cash smuggling, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.

On March 25, 2012, agents of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force received information that an individual associated with Lacen-Santiago would be travelling with a large amount of cash through the St. Croix Airport. During a security check of Lacen-Santiago and his co-defendant, a canine alerted on two of their bags. Lacen-Santiago’s bag contained $6,249. A search of his person revealed another $39,000 in his pockets. Lacen-Santiago told the agents that he was travelling to St. Martin with the co-defendant. A search of his co-defendant uncovered $38,270 concealed on his person. Neither individual reported the cash as required by law. The co-defendant’s trial is pending.

Lacen-Santiago faces up to five years of imprisonment for the offense and a fine of up to $250,000. A sentencing date has been set for January 13, 2017.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alphonso Andrews, Jr.

Updated September 15, 2016