St. Thomas, USVI – US Attorney Gretchen CF Shappert announced that Jerry Kirkland-Marrero, 31, of Puerto Rico, was sentenced today to 40 months in jail, followed by 30 months on probation, for conspiracy to to conceal more than $ 100,000 on board a ship equipped for contraband.
According to court documents, Kirkland-Marrero was one of three occupants of a vessel that US Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (CBP AMO) banned in waters near Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI , on the night of April 21. , 2020. The ship was stopped after officers noticed it entering the area without its lights on. As the CBO AMO initiated the shutdown of the vessel, officers observed that the occupants of the vessel threw sports bags overboard. Officers recovered three sports bags from the water, as well as a fourth bag that one of the occupants was attempting to throw overboard when officers boarded the ship. Each of the sports bags contained vacuum-sealed packages of US currency, with a combined total value of approximately $ 3,765,740 in US currency. One of the bags was fitted with a GPS tracker.
Court documents further reveal that while they were released pending the resolution of this case, the two Kirkland-Marrero co-defendants were fatally shot in Puerto Rico.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s air and sea operations have investigated the case.
Assistant US Attorney Meredith J. Edwards has continued the case, which is part of an operation by the Task Force on Combating Organized Crime (OCDETF). The OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a multi-agency, prosecutor-led, intelligence-led approach. Additional information on the OCDETF program is available at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.