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USAO: Puerto Rican Sea Captain Teams Up With Dominican In Maritime Smuggling Operation

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Puerto Rican sea captain and a native of the Dominican Republic were captured by the feds while operating a maritime smuggling operation in the territory.

Eduardo Javier Reyes of the Dominican Republic and Arturo Serrano Arizmendi of Puerto Rico appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller for an initial appearance after their arrest on Saturday for immigration related offenses, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court records, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) interdicted a vessel traveling from St. Thomas towards the Savannah Islands on Friday evening without navigational lights.

On board the vessel were the captain, Arturo Serrano Arizmendi, and the five illegal aliens, identified as Eduardo J. Reyes, Elaine de Moura, Viener Dos Santos, Cairo G. Ferreira, and Ronaldo Alves.

Arizmendi was charged with transporting illegal aliens; Reyes and de Moura with entering the United States without inspection; and Santos, Ferreira and Alves with reentering the United States after prior deportations.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

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

Shappert said that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document, and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” she said.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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