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Two Men Sentenced To Less Than Two Years For Smuggling 61 Haitian Illegals

ronald sharpe

U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Two men were sentenced in federal court this week to less than two years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to introducing illegal migrants into the territory, according to U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe.

U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez on Monday sentenced Kenrick Christopher, 48, of Grenada, to 23 months in prison, and Jeard Shillingford, 33, of Dominica, to 18 months in prison for encouraging and inducing illegal immigrants to enter the United States for commercial or financial gain, Sharpe said.

Judge Gomez also sentenced both men to serve three years of supervised release.

On June 24, 2015, Christopher and Shillingford pleaded guilty to encouraging and inducing illegal immigrants to enter the United States for commercial or financial gain, according to court documents.

As part of their pleas, Christopher and Shillingford admitted to operating a sailing vessel containing 61 Haitian nationals seeking to enter the United States illegally, and that they did so for commercial or financial gain knowing that their actions were unlawful, according to Sharpe.

The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted the vessel off the coast of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands on June 10, 2015.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David White.

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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