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BVI Man Arrested For Bringing Four Haitian Nationals Into Territory

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A British Virgin Islands native was charged today with trying to smuggle four Haitian nationals into the territory.

Ernest Williams, 25, of Road Town, Tortola, was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with bringing aliens into the United States, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Daline Ambroise, 23, Presuma Venette, 19, Paul Jn Augustine, 36, and Jordan Ambroise, 36, all nationals of Haiti were also arrested today on criminal complaints charging each of them with illegal entry into the United States, according to Shappert.

Williams, Ambroise, Venette, Jn Augustine, and Ambroise all made their initialappearances before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller and were detained pending further proceedings.

According, to the complaint, Wiliams was operating a boat that was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) coming from the British Virgin Islands.

The agents observed that Williams was operating the boat with no lights. Afterthe boat was stopped, AMO agents identified six people besides Williams onboard.

After inspection, the agents determined that none of the people were American citizens.

Those people onboard were identified as Ambroise, Venette, Jn Augustine, Ambroise and two unaccompanied minors from Haiti who did not have permission to enter the United States.

If convicted of bringing aliens into the United States, Williams faces a sentence up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine.

If convicted of illegal entry, Ambroise, Venette, Jn Augustine andAmbroise face a maximum sentence of six months and a $5,000 fine.

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

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte.

Shappert said that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” she said.

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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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