Chief District Court Judge Wilma Lewis handed down sentences in a pair of unrelated cases, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Nathaniel Thomas Jr.
Nathaniel Thomas, Jr., 30 of St. Croix, was sentenced Friday for escape from custody, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced.
Lewis sentenced Thomas to 28 months of imprisonment consecutive to the federal sentence he is currently serving, and three years of supervised release. Lewis also ordered him to pay a $100 special assessment.
On March 19, Thomas pleaded guilty to escape from custody. According to the plea agreement filed in court, on March 13, 2018, the defendant was convicted in March 2018 of federal and local criminal charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm and first-degree reckless endangerment in the District Court of the Virgin Islands. Upon his conviction, the District Court judge remanded the defendant into custody pending sentencing.
The U.S. Marshal Service transported the defendant to the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility on St. Croix, where federal prisoners are detained pursuant to an agreement with the attorney general of the United States. On March 15, 2018, two days after being convicted by a federal jury, the defendant escaped from the Golden Grove facility. Following an extensive manhunt by federal and territorial law enforcement, Thomas was located in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico on April 7, 2018, and taken into custody.
This case was investigated by the United States Marshal Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhonda Williams-Henry.
On Thursday Lewis sentenced Omy Gutierrez-Calderon, 39, of Puerto Rico, to 300 months – 25 years – in prison for conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
On June 26, 2018, a federal jury convicted Gutierrez-Calderon along with five co- defendants on cocaine-related charges. Evidence at trial revealed that the organization planned the mid-sea retrieval of over 300 kilograms of cocaine during the period of the conspiracy, January 2014 through March 2016. Gutierrez functioned as a manager in the organization. Approximately 223 kilograms of cocaine were actually distributed by the drug organization. Law enforcement efforts to interdict the drug shipments were successful, beginning in 2015. In November 2014, Gutierrez-Calderon provided a firearm carried by a co-conspirator during the attempted retrieval of 80 kilograms of cocaine. Between Dec. 13 and 15, 2014, he assisted others in the mid-sea retrieval of 30 kilograms of cocaine. Between Nov. 12 and 13, 2015, he assisted others in the successful retrieval of 87 kilograms of cocaine, also from mid-sea.
Fourteen individuals were originally charged as part of the drug trafficking organization. Prior to trial, six defendants entered guilty pleas and were sentenced. Gutierrez-Calderon is the last of the defendants convicted on June 26, 2018, to be sentenced.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alphonso G. Andrews, Jr. and Everard E. Potter.