At VIFreep Breaking News Crime News Police News St. John News St. Thomas News U.S. Department of Justice

Dominican Who Tried To Sneak In On St. John Under Cover of Darkness Gets 45 Days

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A Dominican Republic native got 1.5 months in prison for entering the United States illegally here.

Juan Lorenzo Matias Peralta, 38, of Santo Domingo was sentenced today 45 days for illegal entry, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller also ordered Peralta to pay a $10 special assessment, according to Shappert.

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

After the boat was stopped, AMO agents observed five male individuals onboard. Peralta was one of the five persons onboard and it was determined he was not a U.S. citizen, but a national of the Dominican Republic.

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

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

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

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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