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V.I. Police and Prosecutors Awarded for Anti-Cocaine Work

U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert outside the Ron de Lugo Federal Building on St. Thomas. (Source file photo)

The U.S. Virgin Islands’ Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program got an award this week for its part in helping with a multi-year effort against cocaine trafficking from Columbia, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands. Federal, state, local and territorial law enforcement and prosecutors from a number of jurisdictions were also honored for their roles in “Operation Py Beto Kilo,” according to the release.

The awards ceremony acknowledged the contributions of 48 law enforcement officers, agents and prosecutors who contributed to what the release described as the successful multi-year investigation, disruption, and dismantlement of a notorious drug trafficking organization that transported hundred-kilo cocaine loads from Colombia through Venezuela on fishing vessels across the Caribbean to St. Croix, Puerto Rico and Florida.

Operation Py Beto Kilo reportedly led to the June 26, 2018 conviction of drug kingpin Sergio Quinone-Davila and five codefendants on cocaine-related charges. The investigation ultimately resulted in convictions for 14 defendants, and seizure of 87 kilograms of cocaine and 8 boats.

“Today’s ceremony acknowledges the tremendous contributions of dedicated law enforcement agencies and prosecution offices that work collaboratively to disrupt and dismantle major drug organizations. National recognition of our efforts in the Virgin Islands is a testament to the excellent work and dedication of our OCDETF Task Force partners,” U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert said in the release.

Established in 1982, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force is the largest anti-crime task force in the United States. It operates as an independent component of the U.S. Department of Justice and is the centerpiece of the Attorney General’s strategy to combat transnational organized crime. The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational 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.

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