CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas boat captain is accused of trying to deceive U.S. Customs and Border Security agents that two illegal St. Lucian men aboard his vessel had just gone for a day sail to the BVI and come right back again.
Kalik Aaron, 22, Arkim Clersaint, 20, and Le Shaun Fahie, 23, appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller for an advice-of-rights hearing after being taken into custody by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents yesterday.
Aaron was charged with bringing in or harboring illegal aliens, and Clersaint and Fahie were each charged with improper entry by an alien, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Magistrate Miller released the three accused men pending their trial.
According to court documents, on Sunday, August 25, 2019, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Customs and Border Security (CBP) Marine Interdiction agents stopped a vessel operated by Aaron after it was observed leaving Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and entered the United States’ waters near St. John with improper lighting.
After stopping the vessel, CPB’s Maritime Interdiction agents discovered two aliens and one United States citizen onboard. The aliens were identified as Clersaint and Fahie, each citizens of St. Lucia.
Clersaint and Fahie provided the agents with St. Lucian passports, and Aaron provided proof of U.S. citizenship.
Aaron, the captain of the vessel, told the agents that all three people had departed St. Thomas in the Frydenhoj Lagoon area on the evening of August 25, 2019, on board the vessel, and traveled to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, for a few hours before returning to St. John.
The point of entry and time of their arrival, however, is not a designated port of entry nor hour of operation for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
This case is being investigated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Delia L. Smith.
Shappert said that a criminal information is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.
“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty,” she said.