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Dominican Heroin Dealer Pleads Guilty To Illegally Re-Entering The U.S. Virgin Islands

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Dominican Republic man previously deported after being convicted of heroin possession pleaded guilty this week to illegally re-entering the territory, authorities said.

Timoteo Upia-Frias, 74, of Santo Domingo, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Ruth Miller and pleaded guilty to one count of illegally re-entering the United States, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said today.

According to court documents, Upia-Frias was discovered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents living in a neighborhood on St. Thomas while conducting a “surge” operation targeting undocumented immigrants in the United States Virgin Islands.

The surge operation by Enforcement and Removal Operations Officers led to the discovery of multiple undocumented immigrants, including Upia-Frias, who had returned the same area where he lived and worked in at the time of his 2007 arrest.

Criminal and immigration records confirmed that on September 6, 2016, Upia-Frias was removed from the United States by ICE agents and returned to his native country, the Dominican Republic, following his felony conviction in the District Court of the United States in 2008 for possessing with intent to distribute heroin.

Upia-Frias pleaded guilty to illegal reentry pursuant to 8 U.S.C § 1326 and now faces up to 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors at a sentencing hearing to be scheduled later.

Prior to his court datee, Upia-Frias was being held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico,

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of the Virgin Islands and investigated by HSI and ICE.

https://casetext.com/case/us-v-upia-frias?cf_chl_jschl_tk=pmd_bYn8g.4bKPeTIwT6UfzWAAQ.aAtZp32ztc.q5iQuAiU-1633554245-0-gqNtZGzNAlCjcnBszQil

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Puerto Rico Sees More Refugees Arrive By Boat Due To Haitian Political Crisis

SAN JUAN — The political turmoil and growing violence in Haiti is pushing more Haitians to take to the sea in an effort to reach Puerto Rico, where more refugees were intercepted at sea so far this year than the total over the previous two years, according to federal data.

The 49 Haitians apprehended by both federal agencies so far this year surpass the 25 reported in Puerto Rico in 2020 and the seven in 2019.

Hatians intercepted at sea are taken back to where their boat departed, and those who make it Puerto Rico are turned over to the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) to be deported.

Haiti’s political unrest, constitutional crisis and spike in kidnappings have spurred the migration, experts, priests and human rights advocates told the Miami Herald.

Haitian Catholic priest Olin Pierre, who gives food and shelter to his fellow citizens in Puerto Rico, said he has noted an increase in Haitians arriving this year.

Haitians have settled in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, the priest said. Dominicans, an immigrant community that is well-established on the island, often assist Haitians as they arrive.

But because of language barriers, it is unusual to see Haitians making their homes on the island, noted Pierre. Most of them continue their trips to the United States or Canada, where there’s a bigger Haitian population. As of 2019, 256 Haiti-born people were living in Puerto Rico, based on the most recent Puerto Rico Community Survey Census.

“Haiti’s misery is not misery, it’s something worse,” Pierre said.Protesters have called for the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Mossé multiple times in recent years. Dieu Nalio Chery AP

During the current political unrest in Haiti, gangs and armed groups have outgunned security forces and are fighting for territory, said Colette Lespinasse, a refugee and human-rights advocate based in Haiti. Hunger and malnutrition have increased in Haiti as President Jovenel Moïse has been accused of embezzling funds, dismantling the parliament, and exceeding his term limit.

In reaction to Moïse’s refusal to step down despite the mandate of Haiti’s constitution, Lespinasse said, protests paralyzed the country as protesters have demanded a new election. In the past two months, Haitian migration has picked up. On June 6th, 31 Haitians were intercepted by Puerto Rico’s Police and U.S. Border Protection in Rincón, a town where immigrants frequently arrive.

“We have a perpetual crisis that has not been solved,” Lespinasse said. “It is still very hard today.”

Haitians from the capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as from other areas are fleeing, said Haitian economist Camille Chalmers.

“The people that are going to Puerto Rico are new migrants,” Chalmers said. “Professionals and young people are fleeing harsh living conditions in upper-and middle-class slums.”

Haitians who migrate to Puerto Rico often use it as a transit point to the United States, Chalmers said.

For migrants, fleeing Haiti by boat through the Mona Passage, a 60-mile stretch between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, is dangerous, Jeffrey Quiñones, Puerto Rico’s Border Protection public affairs officer, said. “Statistically, transporting people on the water is more dangerous,” Quiñones said. “The chances of dying on the trip are much higher.”

Though the Center for American Progress, an independent and nonpartisan policy institute, did not find that Temporary Protected Status designations encouraged migration to the mainland United States, Quiñones stated that it could increase Haitian migration to the island.

Immigrants think they can be covered by TPS after reaching the United States, but that is not possible, the public offer said.

The U.S. grants TPS to citizens from countries in extraordinary circumstances that can’t handle the return of their nationals from abroad. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, grantees can’t be deported and can work temporarily in the country.

Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, designated an 18-month extension of TPS for Haitian nationals on May 22nd.

As of 2018, 41 Haitians living in Puerto Rico were protected by TPS, the largest population of TPS holders in the island, according to data released by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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Mr. Whyte, An ‘Aggravated Felon’ Gets Time Served, Deportation For Returning To USA After 1st Deportation

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Guyanese man who illegally re-entered the United States as an aggravated felon in St. Thomas was sentenced to time served and a second deportation proceeding, authorities said.

Warren Michael Whyte, of Georgetown, was given that sentence after pleading guilty to illegal re-entry and being ordered deported and removed, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said today.

According to Court documents, on March 14, 2020, an ICE Deportation Officer received information from a credible source of information (SOI) that an individual who was previously deported from the United States was working in the Smith Bay area in St. Thomas at an auto repair shop called “Auto World.”

Criminal and immigration records checks were completed and revealed that on June 18, 2002, Warren Whyte was ordered removed from the
United States by the Immigration & Naturalization Service to his native country of Guyana as an aggravated felon due to his prior felony conviction.

Court records show that on March 17, 2020, at approximately 7:00 a.m,, an ICE officer observed an individual who appeared to be the person identified in the picture as Warren Whyte.

Officer Williams conducted a vehicle stop on Virgin Islands Route 40 of the vehicle the individual was driving. During the encounter, Whyte freely admitted that his name was Warren Whyte.

Mr. Whyte was taken into custody and transported to the ICE office where his fingerprints resulted in a positive match to his prior record of deportation.

During the Sentencing Hearing, United States District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy stated that Mr. Whyte’s prior conviction was almost 20 years ago, and that Whyte had been on home incarceration since March 17, 2020.

Judge Molloy sentenced Mr. Whyte to time served.

Mr. Whyte will be deported from the United States a second time as a result of his most recent conviction.

This case was investigated by the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Juan Albino.

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Dominican Who Re-Entered United States After Being Previously Deported Gets 1 Year In Prison

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Dominican Republic native who came back to the United States after being previously deported was given one year in prison, authorities said.

Eilin Castillo Montano of Santo Domingo was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to illegally reentering the United States after being ordered deported and removed, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deportation Officer received information from a credible source of information (SOI) that an individual who was previously deported from the United States was back in St. Thomas.

ICE officers observed the defendant and took him into custody, where he admitted to being in the United States illegally.

Criminal and immigration records checks revealed that Castillo Montano was previously ordered deported and on April 19, 2016, he was removed to the Dominican Republic.

His removal followed a federal conviction on August 31, 2015, in the District Court of the Virgin Islands for possessing a firearm by an illegal alien and a local conviction in the Virgin Islands Superior Court on January 11, 2016, for discharging a firearm.

United States District Court Judge Robert Molloy sentenced Castillo to 12 months imprisonment.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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Dominican Man Who Lived Undetected On St. Thomas For 7 Months Admits In Court He Came Back To The USVI After Being Deported

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Dominican Republic native who lived seven months in St. Thomas illegally and undetected admitted in federal court that he returned to the territory after being previously deported.

Eilin Castillo-Montano of Santo Domingo pled guilty to illegally reentering the United States after being ordered deported and removed, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said Friday.

According to court documents, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officer received information from a credible source of information that an individual who was previously deported from the United States was back in St. Thomas.

Criminal and immigration records checks revealed that on April 19, 2016, Eilin Castillo-Montano was removed from the United States by immigration officials to his native country of the Dominican Republic, following a federal conviction for possessing a firearm by an illegal alien on August 31, 2015 in the United States District Court of the Virgin Islands.

On August 10, 2020 an ICE deportation officer found the defendant in St. Thomas and took him into custody. He was transported to the ICE office where he confessed to illegally reentering the United States.

Castillo-Montano will be sentenced at a later date, according to Shappert.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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Guyanese Auto Mechanic Mr. Whyte Faces 10 Years In Prison After Illegal Re-Entry Conviction In St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Guyanese auto mechanic admitted in federal court he was an aggravated felon who illegally re-entered the United States faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, authorities said.

Warren Michael Whyte, of Georgetown, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller in U.S. District Court and entered a guilty plea to the charge of illegal re-entry of removed alien, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said today.

According to court documents, on March 14, 2020, a U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officer received information from a credible source of information (SOI) that a person who was previously deported from the United States was working at an auto body repair shop called “Inter-Island AutoWorld” in the Smith Bay area of St. Thomas.

Criminal and immigration records checks were completed and revealed that on June 18, 2002, Warren Whyte was ordered removed from the United States by the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service (ICE) to his native country of Guyana as an aggravated felon due to his prior felony conviction.

Court records show that on March 17, 2020, at approximately 7:00 a.m., an ICE officer observed an individual who appeared to be the person identified in the picture as Warren Whyte.

On that day Officer Williams followed Whyte and conducted a traffic stop on his vehicle in the area of Hometown grocery store on VI Route 40, “and he freely admitted that his name was Warren Whyte,” authorities said.

Whyte was taken into custody and transported to the ICE office on Crown Mountain, where “a biometric search of Warren Michael Whyte’s fingerprints were taken and revealed a positive match to his prior record of deportation,” according to the affidavit.

Warren Michael Whyte, was previously deported to Guyana in June 2002, but re-entered the country undetected at some point, court records indicate.

Whyte was released on a personal recognizance bond prior to his trial.

This case was investigated by the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan Albino.

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Dominican Republic Native Deported 4 Years Ago Lives In St. Thomas For 7 Months And Is Arrested On Monday

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Dominican Republic native who fired a gun during a domestic dispute in St. Thomas and was deported to his home country four years ago — was back at the Ron de Lugo U.S. Courthouse again today.

United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert for the District of the Virgin Islands announced that a federal complaint has been filed charging Eilin Castillo-Montano with illegally reentering the United States.

According to court documents, authorities received information in May of 2020 that an individual who had previously been deported from the United States was living in a residential neighborhood on St. Thomas.

The ensuing investigation revealed that the individual was Eilin Castillo-Montano.

Criminal and immigration records checks confirmed that on April 19, 2016, Eilin Castillo-Montano was removed from the United States by officers with the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service and returned to his native country, the Dominican Republic, following his conviction for possessing a firearm by an illegal alien on August 31, 2015 in U.S. District Court.

Eilin Castillo-Montano was apprehended by law enforcement on Monday.

According to court documents, he acknowledged that he entered the U.S. Virgin Islands in January of 2020, traveling by boat from Tortola, British Virgin Islands to St. John and then to St. Thomas.

A detention hearing was held before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller today.

Castillo-Montano was released to home incarceration, among other conditions.

Shappert said that a criminal complaint is merely a charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

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

The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

https://www.justice.gov/usao-vi/pr/dominican-republic-citizen-charged-illegally-reentering-united-states

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Guyanese ‘Aggravated Felon’ Charged With Entering United States Illegally: USAO

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Guyanese national who was deported previously as an “aggravated felon” is accused of coming to the United States again illegally.

Warren Michael Whyte of Georgetown was charged with entering the United States after having been deported and removed, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Whyte made his initial appearance before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller today.

According to court documents, on March 14, 2020, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officer received information from a credible source of information (SOI) that an individual who was previously deported from the United States was working in the Smith Bay area in St. Thomas, V.I.

Criminal and immigration records checks revealed that on June 18, 2002, Warren Whyte was removed from the United States by Immigration Officers of the Immigration & Naturalization Service to his native country of Guyana as an aggravated felon.

Court documents indicate that on March 15, the ICE officer provided the SOI with the picture of Warren Whyte and the SOI positively identified him as the person who was in the United States illegally.

On March 17, about 7:00 am, the ICE officer observed an individual who appeared to be the person identified in the picture as Warren Whyte.

The officer conducted a vehicle stop of the vehicle the individual was driving. During the encounter, the person acknowledged that his name was Warren Michael Whyte.

Mr. Whyte was taken into custody and transported to ICE office.

According to court documents, a subsequent investigation confirmed that Whyte had previously been deported from the United States.

This case is investigated by the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Juan A. Albino.

Shappert said that a criminal complaint 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.

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September Stabbing, Disfigurement Was Caught On Surveillance Video: Suspect Arrested On Friday

CRUZ BAY — A joint task force of local and federal officers arrested a man on St. John because he allegedly stabbed someone and disfigured them three months ago — and it was all captured on surveillance video, authorities said.

Virgin Islands Police Department officers along with the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Samuel Ariel Acosta de la Cruz of Enighed, St. John about 5 a.m. on Friday on a warrant for mayhem, according to the VIPD.

“On September 15, Ariel assaulted the victim by striking him with a bottle and stabbing him with an unknown object,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said. “The assault was caught on surveillance footage.”

Bail for Acosta de la Cruz was set at $100,000. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the custody of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections pending an advice-of-rights hearing.

This case is currently under active investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB).

Anyone with any information regarding this crime is urged to contact 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-774-2211 ext. 5579 or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1(800) 222-8477.

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Florida-Bound Traveler Stopped With 5 Bags of Cocaine In His Suitcase

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A man wanting to fly to Florida with five bags of cocaine in his suitcase was thwarted by federal law enforcement authorities in St. Thomas this weekend.

Aubrey Meyers was arrested at the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, U.S Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents filed in the case, Meyers was attempting to travel from St. Thomas to Orlando on Sunday.

Meyers was questioned by U.S. Customs and Borders Protection officials, and a search of his luggage revealed five clear plastic bags containing cocaine.

This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathan Brooks and Adam Sleeper.

A criminal complaint is merely a charging document, and it is not in and of itself evidence of guilt, Shappert said.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” she said.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-vi/pr/traveler-arrested-cyril-e-king-airport-possession-cocaine