ST. CROIX. U.S. Virgin Islands – A Bulgarian man indicted in 2004 for drug-related charges was found guilty and sentenced to 24 years in federal prison Friday for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.
Todor Yordanov Dragn was sentenced to 292 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release after the evidence introduced during the trial revealed that he and three other Bulgarian crewmembers were on board a Venezuelan sailing boat carrying 200 kilograms of cocaine.
A Dutch patrol vessel with a U.S. Coast Guard detachment observed objects being thrown overboard and after receiving a statement of no objection from the government of Venezuela, the Coast Guard detachment boarded the vessel.
Todor Yordanov Dragn identified himself as the captain of the boat. Once on board, the detachment team found more than 200 kilograms of cocaine hidden within bags in compartments on board the vessel.
“ICE agents work closely with U.S. Coast Guard personnel to prevent the illegal importation of narcotics into United States through Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Roberto Escobar Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. “Those who think that the Caribbean is an easy route to smuggle drugs should think twice.”
Dragn’s crewmembers were acquitted by the jury. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise A. Hinds.