Two men from Vieques, Puerto Rico, were arrested Monday on St. Thomas on criminal charges related to their alleged involvement in concealing or attempting to conceal more than $100,000 in currency aboard a vessel outfitted for smuggling, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced Tuesday.
According to court documents, 31-year-old Julius Alvarez-Gonzalez and 22-year-old Jimmy Garcia-Quinonez were stopped on the Monday evening by Air and Marine agents from Customs and Border Protection, west of St. Thomas. The two were operating a vessel at night, without navigational lights and headed towards Barents Bay.
As agents approached, they observed a large duffel bag being thrown overboard, court documents say. The bag was later recovered and contained more than $100,000.
Both Alvarez-Gonzalez and Garcia-Quinonez are charged with a violation of Title 46 United States Code, Section 70503(a)(3), which makes it a crime to possess more than $100,000 in U.S. currency onboard a vessel outfitted for smuggling. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison.
Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations and Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Natasha Baker is prosecuting the case.