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45-Year-Old St. Thomas Man Pleads Guilty To Bribing Official To Smuggle Illegal Brazilians Into The Territory

curtis gomez

 U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 45-year-old St. Thomas man pleaded guilty in federal court today to bribing an undercover government official to clear undocumented Brazilians through the Cyril E. King International Airport.

Miguel Rodriguez Ramirez pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on St. Thomas Friday to bribery of a public official, according to U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court, between July 2015 and December 2015, Ramirez bribed an undercover public official by paying the official to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States, Sharpe said.

Ramirez paid the undercover public official a total of $12,080 to shepherd the illegal aliens through customs at the Cyril E. King International Airport, court records indicate.

U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez continued Ramirez’s status in official detention.

A sentencing date has been set for June 16, 2016.

Ramirez faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case is the result of investigative work by Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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