Exclusive: Bronx Father, Navy Veteran Imprisoned in Kuwait; Sentenced to 25 Years on Marijuana Charges

By Kevin Deutsch
kdeutsch@bronxjusticenews.com

A Bronx-born Navy veteran has been sentenced to 25 years in a Kuwait prison after his conviction on marijuana-related charges in the Middle Eastern nation, according to family and friends of the detainee.

Nicodemus Acosta, 30, a Computer System Support Specialist with Alaska-based Vista Defense Technologies, had been working in Kuwait for almost 4 years when the national police arrested him in August on charges of drug use and distribution, after allegedly seizing about 1.75 pounds of marijuana authorities said belonged to him and several associates.

Other Americans were also charged in the drug case, police records show.

Pictured: Navy veteran Nicodemus Acosta and his son. Credit: Family photo.

After several months of court dates, Acosta was convicted at trial in March and sentenced to 25 years with hard labor, according to Sarah Floyd, a friend of Mr. Acosta’s who said she was also taken into custody at the time, but later released.

Acosta had been implicated by a man in police custody who fingered him as a drug dealer—an allegation his family and friends say is false.

The ex-service member, who is divorced with a 7-year-old son, joined the Navy in 2008 and served on active duty for 5 years, according to a biography provided by a Navy spokesperson.

During that time, he was stationed overseas in locations including Spain and Bahrain. He continued his military career for several years with the Navy reserves, according to the Navy.

Pictured: Nicodemus Acosta, a Navy veteran being held in a Kuwait prison. Credit: Handout

U.S. officials confirmed Mr. Acosta’s detention to Bronx Justice News Thursday, saying they are doing all they can to help the American citizen.

“We can confirm the detention of U.S. citizen Nicodemus Acosta in Kuwait,” a U.S. State Department official said. “We are providing all appropriate consular services to Mr. Acosta. When a U.S. citizen is detained abroad, consular officers seek to aid him or her with all appropriate consular assistance.”

The official said that assistance may include: attempting to ensure the detainee receives a fair and transparent legal process with access to legal counsel; visiting the U.S. national in prison to ensure he is receiving humane treatment, including medical treatment if needed; and, with the prisoner’s permission, facilitating communications with his family and other contacts.

“The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater responsibility than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas,” the State Department official said.
Among the awards and decorations Acosta received during his Navy career, according to the military branch:
Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist designation; the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal; the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; the Good Conduct Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and the Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon, with sharpshooter designation.
Acosta is appealing his conviction, and is next scheduled to go before a judge July 2.
About Kevin Deutsch 107 Articles
Kevin Deutsch is a Staff Writer for Bronx Justice News covering the criminal justice system, incarceration, and DNA use by law enforcement. An award-winning journalist, Deutsch is the author of the true crime books "Pill City" and "The Triangle." He has worked on staff at the Daily News, Miami Herald, Newsday, The Palm Beach Post, and The Riverdale Press. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Forward, The Independent, Huffington Post, and the New York Post, among other publications. A Bronx resident, Deutsch hosts the true crime podcast "A Dark Turn" on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.

2 Comments

  1. What can we do to help nick ? I have written the consulate asking for help and have not received a response. It’s tine the families get together to protest at the Kuwait embassy?

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