VESSEL CAPTAIN PLEADS GUILTY TO MIGRANT SMUGGLING
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Commander Seventh Coast Guard District, Greg McCann, Acting Director of Field Operations, U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP), Randy Donnelson, Director of Air Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Matthew Zetts, Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol, announced that defendant Rick Davis, 31, a Bahamian national, pled guilty on December 10, 2010 to two counts of alien smuggling, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv). Sentencing is scheduled for February 18, 2011. Davis faces a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment on each count.
According to statements made in court, on November 3, 2010, ICE was advised by the USCG and CBP about an attempted alien smuggling off the coast of Deerfield Beach, FL. After a CBP surveillance aircraft detected a suspicious vessel navigating without any lights in a westerly direction, near Deerfield Beach, a CBP marine unit responded and activated its emergency lights to stop the vessel for inspection. Upon seeing the emergency lights, the captain of the vessel, later identified as defendant Rick Davis, failed to stop, made an abrupt turn and headed away. CBP agents deployed two disabling rounds to one of the vessel’s engines and then fired two additional rounds to the second engine.
Subsequent investigation identified the Captain of the vessel as Davis. Davis was smuggling other passengers, including six undocumented Haitians and one Jamaican citizen. The Jamaican citizen, Juantorena Washington Getten, was subsequently charged with illegal re-entry into the U.S. after deportation, in violation of Title 8, Untied States Code, Section 1326(a). Getten pled guilty on Monday, December 13, 2010 before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra.
Mr. Ferrer commended the cooperation and investigative efforts of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Ft. Lauderdale, the USCG, CBP’s Office of Field Operations, Office of Air and Marine, and the U.S. Border Patrol. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Katz.
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.