Haitian Man Pleads Guilty to Alien Smuggling Conspiracy that Killed 8
St. Thomas, USVI – Lamorthe Delva, a Haitian national, pleaded guilty today in federal district court to conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
On April 10, 2014, Delva, 46, was charged in a 10-count indictment, along with Dieuseul Mompremier and Roro Edourre. In addition to conspiracy to smuggle aliens, Mompremier, Delva and Edourre are charged with unlawfully attempting to bring aliens into the United States. Mompremier also is charged with transportation of an alien within the United States on or about December 28, 2011. Edourre was prosecuted for manslaughter in the British Virgin Islands, where he is currently serving his sentence.
According to the indictment, in December 2010, Mompremier, Delva and Roro Edourre, 46, conspired with each other and additional co-conspirators to smuggle illegal aliens into St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. On December 5, 2010, Edourre was the captain on the vessel “Jesus La,” with approximately 33 passengers, most of them Haitian nationals, including men, women and children, when the vessel traveled from St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, to the U.S. Virgin Islands. While Edourre was transporting the illegal aliens on the vessel, Mompremier and Delva waited in the U.S. Virgin Islands and communicated with their co-conspirators by telephone. The U.S. Coast Guard spotted the vessel carrying Edourre and his passengers, and Edourre attempted to evade the Coast Guard. While attempting to evade the Coast Guard, the “Jesus La” ran aground and sank, resulting in the death of at least eight individuals, including four children.
Delva faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing has been scheduled for September 25, 2014, before District Judge Curtis V. Gomez.
United States Attorney Sharpe commended the work of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim L.Chisholm, who is prosecuting this case.