By Kevin Deutsch
A Bronx-born Navy veteran sentenced to 25 years in a Kuwait prison after his conviction on marijuana-related charges saw his sentence reduced to four years this week by a Kuwaiti appellate court, according to family and friends of the prisoner.
The charges against Nicodemus Acosta, a Computer System Support Specialist with Alaska-based Vista Defense Technologies, were reduced, with the court dismissing marijuana distribution charges against the American. Acosta also faces a $5,000 fine.
Acosta, who is being held in a squalid men’s prison in the Middle Eastern nation, may also be eligible for a rehabilitation program to further reduce his sentence, authorities said.
The U.S. State Department has been involved in Acosta’s case, which gained national attention after Bronx Justice News exclusively revealed his detention.
The veteran had been working in Kuwait for almost four 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 and remain imprisoned, police records show.
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.
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.