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Tico sentenced to four years in U.S. jail

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Published on Tuesday, July 9, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Tico (term used for a native of Costa Rica), surnamed Hernandez-Hernandez (38) was sentenced by Judge Wilma Lewis to 57 months or almost four years of incarceration and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to drug conspiracy charges.

According to the U.S. District of Virgin Islands court documents, on November 7, 2022, while patrolling in international waters, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Campbell intercepted a go-fast vessel approximately 65 nautical miles south of Boca Chica, Panama.

The go-fast vessel had no physical flag flown and no registration documents.

Onboard the vessel was Hernandez with two Colombian men surnamed Orellana-Orellana and Coto-Lopez. They were transporting a cargo of  1,860 kilograms of marijuana.

When Hernandez was arrested he claimed Colombian nationality. Colombian authorities, however, could neither confirm nor deny nationality.

The vessel was therefore treated as one without nationality, subjecting it to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Throughout the trial, Hernandez's Costa Rican nationality was proven.

On November 8, 2023, Coto-Lopez was sentenced to 46 months of incarceration, and on November 28, 2023, Orellana-Orellana was sentenced to 37 months of incarceration for the roles in the drug smuggling operation.

All three face deportation after serving their prison sentences.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel H. Huston and Melissa Ortiz.

This action is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation.

OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

What have you heard about Ticos jailed in the United States?
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