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April 9, 2021St. Thomas, VI, United StatesContraband, Financial Crimes

HSI, CBP, DEA seize $1.28 million, arrest 4 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands — Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), working jointly with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Alliance (CMLA) seized Thursday $1.28 million in cash from an abandoned vehicle in the Stumpy Beach-area on the west end of St. Thomas, USVI and arrested four men.

Those arrested in connection with the seizure are: Alverio Morales and Javier Lebron Pinto, both 26, of Yabucoa Puerto Rico; Joshua Laboy-Lozada, 28, of Patillas, Puerto Rico and Alcibiades Flis Batista, 46, of the Dominican Republic. Morales, Lebron Pinto and Flis Batista had their initial hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller April 8, and were transferred to the U.S. Marshals Service awaiting the outcome of the case. Laboy-Lozada had his initial hearing before Magistrate Judge Miller April 9.

This case is being investigated jointly by the Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Alliance (CMLA), which promotes interagency collaboration to identify, disrupt and dismantle money laundering organizations operating throughout the Caribbean.  Established in 2018, CMLA's partner agencies include Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals, the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Districts of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of the U.S. Virgin Islands will prosecute the case.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI's workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI's international presence represents DHS's largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 04/09/2021