Puerto Man Apprehended on a Vessel with $ 316,930 in U.S. Currency Pleads Guilty to Making a False Statement to Federal Agents; Vessel and U.S. Currency are Forfeited

//
4 mins read

ST. Thomas, USVI – U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert of the District of the Virgin Islands announced that a Puerto Rico man pleaded guilty in federal court today to making a false statement to agent of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), an executive agency of the United States.

According to court documents, Blas Sebastian Panzardi Davila, age 38, was the sole individual operating a vessel traveling from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas. Onboard defendant’s vessel was a cooler containing $316,930 in United States currency. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Marine Interdiction (CBP-MI) officers questioned defendant regarding the contents of the cooler, and defendant responded that he did not know what the cooler contained. CBP-MI officers opened the cooler and discovered the currency, and defendant denied ownership.

HSI agents arrived and questioned defendant regarding ownership of the currency. Defendant then claimed the currency belonged to him. Asked how he earned the money, defendant stated that he earned it while giving tourists diving tours in Puerto Rico. Asked how much currency was in the cooler, defendant said that it was approximately $100,000. According to court documents, defendant made his false statements to agents of HSI, an agency of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States.

The $ 316, 930 in U.S. currency and the vessel operated by Davila were administratively forfeited by HSI.

Davila is scheduled to be sentenced on January 27, 2022 and faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

Related News:  ICE HSI Dallas collaboration with federal, state and city law enforcement agencies lead to dismantlement of large-scale retail theft ring

This case was investigated by Customs Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard E. Potter.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.



 – click here  –


Public Service Announcement


from the US Attorney’s Office


District of the Virgin Islands


 

Learn More

 

The Elder Justice Program stems from the DOJ Elder Justice Initiative (EJI) to prevent and combat financial fraud and scams that target seniors, elder abuse, and neglect.  The mission of the EJI is to strengthen awareness about elder abuse and financial exploitation through education, build law enforcement capacity to respond to elder justice issues, and facilitate prosecution efforts to make our community safer for all.

Anyone interested in learning more about the program can log on to

https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.

 

Report suspicious criminal activity to the ICE HSI Tip Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 866-DHS-2-ICE

 

Call 888-373-7888  Text 2333733  Live Chat

Related News:  New Haven Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearm Charge Related to Gun Trafficking Scheme

Disaster Fraud Hotline, 866-720-5721, email disaster@leo.gov

If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721 or e-mail at: disaster@leo.gov


 

Learn More

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.


 

Learn More

Let your voice be heard...Share your opinion: