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Contraband
01/10/2011

ICE arrests Dominican Republic national in US Virgin Islands, seizes 228 kilograms of cocaine

CHRISTIANSTED, U.S. Virgin Islands - A 33-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic who resides in Caguas, Puerto Rico, was arrested by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Sunday in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), following a routine traffic stop by the USVI Police Department that led to the discovery of 202 bricks of cocaine with an estimated weight of 228 kilograms and an approximate street value of more than $6 million.

The vehicle driven by Miguel Pascual was stopped by the USVI police officers in Christiansted for a traffic violation.

Pascual consented to a search of the vehicle, which revealed seven large bags containing brick-like objects in the cargo area and back seat of the vehicle. The objects later tested positive for cocaine.

USVI police officers notified ICE HSI special agents who responded to the scene, arrested Pascual, and seized the 228 kilograms of cocaine.

"Through these arrests and seizures we are sending a clear message that the U.S. Virgin Islands will not be a safe haven for criminals looking to ship drugs into USVI and Puerto Rico," said Roberto Escobar-Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Juan. "HSI and its federal and local partners are committed to working together to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into the USVI and Puerto Rico."

Pascual is in ICE custody awaiting the outcome of his criminal case.