News and Press Releases

member of international alien smuggling conspiracy sentenced to 46 months in prison

September 13, 2012


CAMDEN, N.J. – A manager and supervisor of an international scheme responsible for allegedly smuggling into the United States hundreds of illegal aliens from Brazil, India, and elsewhere was sentenced today to 46 months in prison, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Nacip Teotonio Pires, a/k/a “Ze Maria,” a/k/a “Baraso, 48, of Newark, N.J., previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez to an Information charging him with one count of participating in a conspiracy to bring aliens into the United States illegally. Judge Rodriguez imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

In December 2011, co-conspirators Rubens DaSilva, a/k/a “Diogo Oliveira,” 40, of Haverhill, Mass., and Claudinei Pereira Mota, 35, of Newark, both each pleaded guilty before Judge Rodriguez to one-count Informations charging them with conspiring to bring aliens into the country illegally. A fourth member of the smuggling ring, Francismar Da Conceicao, a/k/a “Alex,” 37, of Hillside, N.J., also pleaded guilty to a similar charge a few days earlier. A fifth defendant, Sanderlei Alves DaCruz, a/k/a “Kauan,” a/k/a “Kauan Santana, a/k/a “Sidney Gomes Figueredo, 33, of Houston, Texas, was indicted on June 21, 2012; his case is pending. A sixth defendant Priscilla (last name unknown), a/k/a “Clema Aparacida Lopes,” of Long Branch, N.J., remains at large.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From January 2008 through June 2011, the defendants conspired with each other and others to bring aliens into the United States illegally from Brazil, India, and elsewhere as part of an elaborate for-profit alien smuggling scheme that involved co-conspirators in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, and elsewhere. As part of the scheme, the defendants arranged, facilitated, and monitored the travel of customers along two primary smuggling routes – the first of which included travel through Central America and across the international border between Mexico and the United States. The second route included travel through St. Maarten and the Bahamas, followed by a series of boat trips to either Puerto Rico or the Florida coast.

Through the authorized interception of the co-conspirators’ cell phone calls, the use of confidential sources of information, and other means, law enforcement agents learned that the defendants charged customers of the alien smuggling scheme from $13,000 to more than $25,000 – depending on the route the customer used and whether the customer paid in advance or in installments after arriving in the United States.

Many of the customers of the scheme were young women from Brazil, most of whom agreed to repay part of their smuggling debt after arriving in the United States by working as dancers in strip clubs in Newark and elsewhere.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Pires to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McLees, for the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Faye Schwartz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel:

Pires: Carol Gillen Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark
Da Conceicao: Tim R. Anderson Esq., Red Bank, N.J.
Mota: Mark A. Berman Esq., River Edge, N.J.
DaSilva: Stephen Dratch, Esq. (CJA), Livingston, N.J.
DaCruz: Paulette Pitt, Esq., Woodbridge, N.J.


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