ST. CROIX — Carmelo Cruz-Velez, 52, of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court on St. Croix to conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
Prior to October 21, 2014, Cruz-Velez and his co-conspirators agreed to import cocaine into St. Croix and deliver it to others. On October 21, 2014, his co-conspirators retrieved a mid-sea shipment of cocaine totaling 71 kilograms and brought it to St. Croix pursuant to the agreement. Subsequently, Cruz-Velez, knowing of the plan, took possession of the cocaine and delivered it to another individual.
Cruz-Velez faces up to life imprisonment for the offense and a fine of up to $10,000,000. A sentencing date has been set for January 16, 2017.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alphonso Andrews, Jr.