Neville Jeffrey, 70, Mohamed Hoseain, 66, Richard La Cruz, 51, and Mark Anthony Williams, 32, all of Guyana, were sentenced in St. Croix District Court for possession of cocaine on board a vessel, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced Wednesday.
District Court Judge Wilma A. Lewis sentenced the men to 48 months for Jeffrey, 36 months for Hoseain, 30 months for La Cruz and 27 months for Williams.
Lewis also sentenced each defendant to two years of supervised release, but ordered
that they be deported upon release from incarceration. She further ordered them to pay a special assessment of $100 each and did not impose a fine.
Jeffrey, Hoseain, La Cruz and Williams pleaded guilty to cocaine possession charges in
November and December of 2018. According to plea agreements filed with the court and
statements at the sentencing hearing, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Napier intercepted a suspicious vessel in a joint operation with the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard approximately seventy nautical miles north of Paramaribo, Suriname, in international waters, on Feb. 16, 2017.
The vessel, later identified as the Lady Michelle, was located in a known drug trafficking route and registered with St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The U.S. Coast Guard boarded the vessel pursuant to a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They discovered 185 bales containing numerous rectangular shaped packages of cocaine weighing 3,769 kilograms total in the vessel’s fish hold.
The drugs had a street value in the U.S. Virgin Islands of approximately $71 million. Jeffrey and Hoseain functioned as captains. La Cruz was identified as the engineer and Williams as the cook.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alphonso Andrews, Jr.