Peruvian national Jessie Katherine Gonzales Urquizo and Bahamian national Irene Mildred Janette Burrows were sentenced today to serve 60 months and 36 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in smuggling undocumented migrants to the United States for private financial gain, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton.
Urquizo, 37, and Burrows, 66, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra in the Southern District of Florida.
On Jan. 11, 2013, Urquizo and Burrows both pleaded guilty to charges arising from facilitating the illegal smuggling of Brazilian nationals into the United States by working for a known human smuggler in Brazil. According to court documents, the pair charged between approximately $100 and $125 per day in exchange for providing lodging and transportation to undocumented migrants waiting to be transported by boat to the United States. As part of the scheme, Urquizo and Burrows received instructions from Brazil-based smugglers on when and where to deliver certain undocumented migrants to waiting boats for passage to the United States
Urquizo and Burrows admitted that they brought undocumented migrants, all of whom are Brazilian nationals, to the United States for financial gain. Urquizo admitted to taking payment for lodging the undocumented migrants at various hotels and stash houses, including a nursing home operated by Burrows, her co-defendant and mother-in-law. Urquizo further admitted that she arranged for food to be taken to the undocumented migrants, transported the undocumented migrants to a waiting boat upon instructions from a known human smuggler in Brazil, and demanded payment for her services. For her part, Burrows admitted to working with Urquizo, taking payment for lodging undocumented migrants at her nursing home, and providing transportation.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jay Bauer of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandra Hui of the Southern District of Florida.
The investigation was conducted by the ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Miami.