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Leonard Brothers of Tortola and Pennsylvania Get One Year In Prison For Smuggling Six Illegals From The Dominican Republic Into The Territory

FLASH THE CASH: King Leonard, 24, poses with two female friends on social media.

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Two brothers who admitted in federal court to smuggling six illegal aliens from the Dominican Republic into the territory were ordered to serve a year in prison on Tuesday.

King Leonard, 24, of Road Town, Tortola and Michael Leonard, 21, of Pennsylvania, were each sentenced to 12 months in prison for bringing into and harboring illegal aliens in the United States, Acting U.S. Attorney Joycelyn Hewlett said.

U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez also sentenced the Leonard brothers to serve three years of supervised
release, pay a $100 special assessment, and perform 350 hours of community service.

The Leonards recently pleaded guilty to bringing in and harboring illegal aliens in the United States.

According to the plea agreements, between November 10-11, 2016, the Leonards were captaining the M/V Sole Mio at 5:30 a.m. on November 11 when U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted their vessel in the narrows between St. Thomas and St. John.

At the time, the Sole Mio was operating without navigational lights and the two brothers failed to respond when CBP agents contacted them on the vessel.

When the boat captains realized they could not outrun the pursuing agents, they jumped into the ocean in an attempt to avoid being captured. Still, the agents were able to retrieve them out of the water.

When CBP agents boarded the Sole Mio they found five men and one woman on board.

Michael Leonard told prosecutors that he and his brother had been paid $100 each to take the six people to Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

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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