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Dominican Republic and Venezuelan Illegals Admit To Coming To USVI Illegally

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A native of the Dominican Republic and a native of Venezuela admitted in federal court that they came to the United States illegally.

Juan Lorenzo Matias Peralta, 38, of Santo Domingo and Dionis Alexander Luis Gomez, 31, of Caracas, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Magistrate Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller to illegal entry offenses, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Sentencing is set for December 3, 2018.

According, to court documents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) apprehended a vessel in the area of North Haulover Bay, St. John after agents observed that the vessel was operating with no lights.

After the boat was stopped, AMO agents observed five male individuals on board, including Peralta and Gomez.

Upon further investigation, agents concluded that Peralta and Gomez were not U.S. citizens, but were in fact nationals from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, respectively.

Peralta and Gomez did not have permission to enter the United States, and the area where the boat was apprehended, was not a designated port of entry.

Peralta and Gomez face a maximum sentence of six months and a $5,000 fine.

The case was investigated Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Unit (AMO).

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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