TWO CUBAN NATIONALS INVOLVED IN HAULOVER BEACH VESSEL GROUNDING ARE CHARGED WITH MIGRANT SMUGGLING
Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Investigations, Rear Admiral Steve S. Branham, U.S. Coast Guard, Harold Woodward, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Custom and Border Protection, Randy Donnelson, Director of Air Operations for Miami Air and Marine Branch, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Matthew Zetts, Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol, announced that two Cuban nationals have been charged for their involvement in the April 12, 2010 migrant smuggling venture, which resulted in the landing of 15 migrants and the grounding of a multi-million dollar yacht on Haulover Beach, Florida.
The criminal complaint charges Janoy Garcia-Prieto, 22, and Renier Perez-Hernandez, 24, both of Miami, with alien smuggling, in violation of Title 8, Untied States Code, Section 1324(a)(2)(B)(iii). If convicted, the defendants each face a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 15 years in prison.
According to the complaint filed in court, on April 12, 2010, at approximately 6:10 pm, a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) vessel attempted to stop a 50-foot Riviera pleasure boat near Haulover Inlet. The vessel rammed the USCG vessel before running aground at Haulover Beach. Shortly after the vessel ran aground, persons were observed jumping from the vessel onto the beach. ICE agents ultimately apprehended 15 migrants who were found ashore. The 15 migrants include one 16-year old (minor) Haitian female, two Haitian adult females, one Haitian adult male, two Jamaican adult females, five Jamaican adult males, and four Sri Lankan adult males. ICE special agents also subsequently arrested defendants Garcia-Prieto and Perez-Hernandez.
The two defendants had their initial appearances today in U.S. District Court in Miami and are being held in pre-trial detention pending their bond hearings, which are scheduled for April 19, 2010, at 10:00 a.m.
The 14 adult migrants are currently in ICE custody facing immigration removal proceedings. The vessel involved in this migrant smuggling venture was also seized.
U.S. Attorney Sloman commended the continued cooperation and investigative efforts of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Miami, the USCG, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations, Office of Air and Marine, and the U.S. Border Patrol. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John Evans.
A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.