Alien Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Luxury Watches from the Dominican Republic to Sell in Downtown Miami
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), announce that Marcos Ferrando, 29, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, pled guilty yesterday to charges of illegally attempting to smuggle and clandestinely introduce into the United States luxury watches, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 545 and 2.
U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks accepted Ferrando’s plea and adjudicated him guilty of the offense. Judge Middlebrooks sentenced Ferrando to 100 days imprisonment, followed by reporting to immigration authorities for deportation. Ferrando also agreed to forfeit the watches.
According to statements made in court, Ferrando admitted that on January 31, 2013, he and his wife arrived at Miami International Airport on a commercial flight from the Dominican Republic. Ferrando’s wife completed a Spanish-language binding customs declaration form on behalf of the couple. In response to a question asking if Ferrando and his wife were carrying any articles to be sold in the United States, they answered “no.” For the total value of all items that would remain in the United States, Ferrando and his wife listed nothing. The government estimates the value of the watches to be approximately $400,000.00, and the customs duties owed to be about $20,000.00.
During inspection of Ferrando’s luggage by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an Officer discovered twelve (12) Audemars Piguet manufacturer manuals and warranties. Further inspection of Ferrando’s luggage revealed four (4) Audemars Piguet men’s watches in his carry-on bag and three (3) Audemars Piguet men’s watches concealed in a sunglasses case in his wife’s carry-on handbag. Both Ferrando and his wife were also each wearing an Audemars Piguet men’s watch. The model number on six (6) of the watches matched the model number on six (6) of the twelve (12) manuals in Ferrando’s possession.
During a later interview with a Special Agent from the Department of Homeland Security, Ferrando stated that all nine (9) of the watches belonged to him and admitted that he had planned to sell all nine (9) watches to a buyer in downtown Miami.
Mr. Ferrer commended the joint efforts of ICE-HSI and CBP. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert T. Watson.
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.