ST. THOMAS — United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert for the District of the Virgin Islands announced that complaints have been filed against two men for attempting to smuggle approximately $800,000 into St. Thomas by boat.
Jose Ernesto Vazquez Colon and Abnel Belordo Colon were arrested Friday evening and made their initial appearances in federal court on Saturday in St. Thomas.
According to court documents, late Friday evening CBP Marine Unit agents noticed a boat traveling without navigational lights about three miles north of Savana Island. When CBP agents attempted to initiate a stop, the two individuals on the boat began throwing bags overboard. The bags were later found to contain roughly $800,000 in U.S. currency.
After CBP agents disabled the boat’s motor, they boarded the vessel, apprehended the two defendants, and recovered multiple dumbbells with ropes attached. According to court documents, dumbbells tied to ropes are often used to ensure that contraband materials thrown overboard will sink to the bottom, enabling the contraband to be recovered later, using GPS.
This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Brooks.
United States Attorney Shappert reminded the public that a complaint is merely a formal charging document, and it is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.