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St. John Man and Native of Dominican Republic Admit To Smuggling Illegal Aliens Here

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A St. John man and a native of the Dominican Republic admitted in federal court that they tried to smuggle illegal aliens into the territory, authorities said.

Brice Todman, 36, of Cruz Bay, and Jose Alfredo Rondon Castro, 40, of the Santo Domingo, each pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez, United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said

Todman pleaded guilty to bringing aliens into the United States and Castro pleaded guilty to illegal re-entry into the United States, according to Shappert.

Todman’s sentencing is set for February 13, 2019 and Castro’s sentencing is set for March 14, 2019.

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 the vessel operating with no lights. After the vessel was stopped, AMO agents observed five male individuals on board.

The ensuing investigation identified Todman as the captain and the other four male individuals, including Castro, as persons who were not U.S. citizens.

Castro had been previously ordered deported in February 2018 and did not have permission from the Department of Homeland Security to re-enter the United States.

Todman and Castro each face sentences of up to ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by 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.

St. John Man and Native of Dominican Republic Admit To Smuggling Illegal Aliens Here

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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