United States Attorney Gretchen CF Shappert announced on Wednesday that Guyanese Neville Jeffrey, 70; Mohamed Hoseain, 66; Richard La Cruz, 51, and Mark Anthony Williams, 32, were jailed for 48, 36, 30 and 27 months respectively, for possession of cocaine on board a vessel, by District Court Judge Wilma A Lewis.The sentencing was handed down on Tuesday by Justice Lewis. The Judge also sentenced each defendant to two years of supervised release, but ordered that they be deported upon release from incarceration. She further ordered them to pay a special assessment of US$100 each and did not impose a fine, the US Department of Justice said in a release.Jeffrey, Hoseain, La Cruz and Williams pleaded guilty to cocaine possession charges in November and December of 2018. According to plea agreements filed with the court and statements at the sentencing hearing, the US Coast Guard Cutter Napier, on February 16, 2017, intercepted a suspicious vessel in a joint operation with the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard approximately 70 nautical miles north of Paramaribo, Suriname, in international waters. The vessel, later identified as the Lady Michelle, was located along a known drug trafficking route and registered with St Vincent and the Grenadines. The US Coast Guard boarded the vessel pursuant to a bilateral agreement between the United States and St Vincent and the Grenadines. According to the US Justice Department, they discovered 185 bales containing numerous rectangular shaped packages of cocaine in the vessel’s fish hold weighing 3769 kilograms. The drug had a street value in the US Virgin Islands of US$71 million. Jeffrey and Hoseain functioned as captains. La Cruz was identified as the engineer and Williams as the cook.According to the US Justice Department, the case was investigated by the US Coast Guard, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard and the US Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Alphonso Andrews Jr.
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