U.S. citizen charged with attempting to smuggle illegal aliens through newark airport in exchange for cash, work
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – A U.S. citizen was arrested last night at Newark Liberty International Airport after allegedly attempting to smuggle three citizens of the Dominican Republic into the country illegally in return for payment, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Fernando Ramirez, 37, of Holyoke, Mass., is charged in a criminal Complaint with attempted alien smuggling for financial gain. He appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court and was released on a $150,000 bond.
According to the Complaint filed today:
On Feb. 16, 2012, Ramirez arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on a Continental Airlines flight from the Republic of Panama, accompanied by three citizens of the Dominican Republic. Records kept by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showed that Ramirez had booked the flights for his traveling companions, and that all three were traveling with fraudulent Spanish passports.
During secondary examinations, it was discovered that one of the Dominican citizens had agreed to pay Ramirez between $12,000 and $15,000 for bringing her into the U.S. illegally, and the other two, a man and a woman, had agreed to work in Ramirez’ supermarket as payment for his illegal assistance. Ramirez allegedly had provided all three with fraudulent passports.
The count with which Ramirez is charged carries a statutory minimum penalty of three years in prison, and a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited criminal enforcement officers of the CBP, under the direction of Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations, New York Field Office, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Fabiana Pierre-Louis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Assistant Federal Public Defender Carol Gillen, Newark