HEADLINES

Millions in Cash and Narcotics Netted and at Least Six Arrests Made in Separate Drug Busts in the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas

DEA agents arrest a man at the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus on Thursday in a drug bust they say resulted in six arrests and discovery of an SUV, pictured, filled with close to $500,000 cash and assault rifles that were to be exchanged for 385 pounds of cocaine.

DEA agents arrest a man at the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus on Thursday in a drug bust they say resulted in six arrests and discovery of an SUV, pictured, filled with close to $500,000 cash and assault rifles that were to be exchanged for 385 pounds of cocaine.

Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested six men and said they brought an SUV filled d with almost $500,000 cash and assault rifles from Puerto Rico to trade for 385 pounds of cocaine.

The drug bust took place just after 11 a.m. Thursday near the marine dock at the University of the Virgin Islands Marine Science Center on St. Thomas.

DEA agents arrested Alexandro Gerandino-Aracena, Marco Asala, Ricardo Cardona, Pedro Antonio Beltre Guzman, Wifredo Perez and Jose Luis Ponce and charged them with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.

The six men made their initial appearance Friday before District Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller, who remanded them into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending their detention hearing.

In another bust in the Bahamas a joint task force from Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) seized 2,842 pounds of marijuana with an estimated wholesale value of over $2.5 million during three separate law enforcement operations in the Bahamas this past weekend.

The OPBAT task force was comprised of officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) and the Bahamas Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), a division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).

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Over three separate nights, OAM aircrews observed suspicious go-fast vessels transiting waters in the southeast Bahamas and the law enforcement officials made the drug bust.

In addition to the narcotics seized, two smuggling vessels and a vehicle were taken into custody, and six suspected smugglers were arrested.

The seized go-fast vessels and contraband were eventually escorted to Nassau, Bahamas, for further processing.

OPBAT is a combined DEA, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Government of Bahamas partnership to combat drug smuggling to and from the Bahamas.

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