A man from Nicaraguan pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges, United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced Thursday.
Michael Antony Nelson-Gaet, 34, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine while on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, according to a press release.
According to court documents, on March 5, 2022, during a routine patrol in international waters, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Legare encountered the “La Bendecida Leo, a go-fast vessel located 140 nautical miles southwest of Isla de Malpelo, Columbia. The go-fast vessel was traveling at a high rate of speed with bales and fuel barrels visible on its deck. The vessel had no registration, but the occupants claimed Nicaraguan nationality for the vessel. Nicaragua could
neither confirm nor deny the nationality of the vessel. The vessel was, therefore, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The Coast Guard boarding team observed the occupants throwing the bales overboard. Approximately 550.6 kilograms of cocaine and 136 pounds of marijuana were recovered from the ocean.
Sentencing for Nelson-Gaet is set for June 21, where he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.