Miguel Rodriguez, 60, of St. Thomas, Estanislao de Jesus, 47, and Tomas Miguel Liriano Castillo, 44, both of the Dominican Republic, were arrested Monday on a criminal complaint charging them with one count each of possession with intent to distribute narcotics, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced Tuesday.
Rodriguez, de Jesus, and Castillo made their initial appearance in court Tuesday before District Court Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller, who set a detention hearing Thursday for Rodriguez and Friday for de Jesus and Castillo.
A preliminary hearing for all three men is scheduled for Thursday.
According to the complaint, Castillo came by vessel from Tortola with six kilograms of cocaine. Castillo had made arrangements with de Jesus and Rodriguez to pick him up at Hull Bay. When the boat arrived in Hull Bay, Castillo was seen jumping from the vessel with a backpack while de Jesus and Rodriguez waited for him on shore. When Drug Enforcement Administration agents approached the men, Castillo attempted to throw the backpack under a tree.
The bag was searched and six bricks of a white substance were found inside the backpack, according to the complaint. The substance field tested positive for cocaine and weighed approximately six kilograms. It was determined that Castillo and de Jesus are in the United States illegally.
Possession with the intent to distribute cocaine carries a sentence of not less than 10 years in prison and up to life.
The case is being investigated by the DEA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid M. Tejo-Sprotte.