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Press Release


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

St. Thomas – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Erickson Bolivar, 32, of Venezuela, pleaded guilty before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine. Bolivar was one of three men charged with smuggling 41 kilograms of cocaine into the Territory.

According to court documents, on November 21, 2021, at approximately 4:37 a.m., Customs and Boarder Protection Air and Marine and Homeland Security Investigations agents detected a vessel on the northwest coast of St. Thomas, VI. The agents launched their interceptor vessel and later stopped the target vessel traveling west towards Puerto Rico without navigation lights. Onboard were Bolivar, the captain of the vessel, and two other occupants. Bolivar told agents that they were going fishing, but agents only found two fishing rods without any bait or lures. The vessel and its occupants were transported to Fajardo, PR, for further investigation. There, agents discovered brick-shaped objects containing a powder substance concealed in a hidden compartment in the stern of the vessel. A Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory analysis confirmed that the power substance was cocaine weighing approximately 41 kilograms.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection and Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Payne. This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCEDTF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transactional 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 December 16, 2022

Drug Trafficking