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Puerto Rico Native Pleads Guilty To Trying To Smuggle Five Brazilians Into The U.S.

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 31-year-old Puerto Rico native pleaded guilty in federal court on St. Thomas to attempting to smuggle Brazilian nationals into the territory last year.

Angel De Jesus Marrero pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on St. Thomas on Tuesday to encouraging and inducing aliens to illegally enter the United States, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court, on December 22, 2015, Marrero was solicited by his co-defendant, Rodriguez Ramirez, to assist in the passage of five illegal Brazilian nationals through the St. Thomas airport by checking them in at the airline ticket kiosk, Sharpe said.

Afterward, he was to ensure that the illegal aliens made it to the appropriate gate to depart St. Thomas for New York. Federal agents, however, thwarted the plan before anyone boarded the aircraft and apprehended the defendants along with the illegal aliens. Marrero’s sentencing date has been set for September 1, 2016. Rodriguez Ramirez previously pleaded guilty to bribing a

Customs officer and is awaiting sentencing on June 16, 2016.

Marrero faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by Custom and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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