A 28-year-old Puerto Rican has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for trafficking in bulk money, according to a press release from US Attorney Gretchen Shappert.
Arioc Diaz Melendez was convicted on Monday for concealing $ 287,660 in US currency aboard a ship outfitted for smuggling.
Melendez was arrested after officers from the Maritime Customs and Border Protection Unit spotted a lightless boat traveling north of Savana Island off St. Thomas at around 2 a.m. on September 30 2019, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court.
Officers pulled their vessel alongside the 24-foot boat, which was captained by Melendez, and activated their police blue lights and triggered a rocket in an attempt to collapse the vessel. The ship increased its speed and officers fired a bullet into one of the engines, ultimately causing it to slow down and come to a stop.
The passenger, Jose Carlos Diaz Melendez, threw a gym bag overboard, and officers recovered the bag and found approximately $ 287,000 in US currency inside and also recovered a Glock gun in the ship, according to court records.
Jose Carlos Diaz Melendez was sentenced in June to 27 months in prison, according to court documents.