January 10, 2011
Contact: Ana Pino
Phone Number: (787) 277-4700
DEA, ICE Arrests Dominican Republic National In US Virgin Islands, Seizes 228 Kilograms Of Cocaine
CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS - A 33-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic who resides in Caguas, Puerto Rico, was arrested by Drug Enforcement (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) and Homeland Security (HSI) special agents on Sunday in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin (USVI), following a routine traffic stop by the USVI Police Department that led to the discovery of 202 bricks of cocaine with an estimated weight of 228 kilograms with an approximate street value of more than $6 million.
The vehicle driven by Miguel Pascual was stopped by the USVI police officers in Christiansted for a traffic violation.
Pascual consented to a search of the vehicle, which revealed seven large bags containing brick-like objects in the cargo area and back seat of the vehicle. The objects later tested positive for cocaine.
USVI police officers notified DEA and ICE HSI special agents who responded to the scene, arrested Pascual, and seized the 228 kilograms of cocaine.
“Through these arrests and seizures we are sending a clear message that the U.S. Virgin Islands will not be a safe haven for criminals looking to ship drugs into USVI and Puerto Rico,” said Roberto Escobar-Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Juan. “HSI and its federal and local partners are committed to working together to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into the USVI and Puerto Rico.”
“This significant seizure is another example of DEA, ICE, and VIPD joint efforts to protect the citizens of the USVI from drug smugglers looking to exploit this U.S. Territory as a drug transshipment point” said Javier F. Peña, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division.
Pascual is in U.S. Marshals Service custody awaiting the outcome of his criminal case.