Bahamian Man Pleads Guilty To Alien Smuggling
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, Noel Manheimer, Director of Marine Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Commander, 7th Coast Guard District, and Matthew Zetts, Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol, announce that defendant Preston Russell, 52, of the Bahamas, pled guilty yesterday to charges of attempted alien smuggling, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 7, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez in Fort Pierce, Florida. At sentencing, Russell faces a minimum mandatory sentence of three years and possible maximum statutory sentence of up to 10 years in prison, on each of two counts to which he pled in the Indictment.
According to statements made in open court and documents filed in the case, on November 14, 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a small boat cast adrift with engine trouble off the Florida coast. On the boat were Russell and eight passengers, none of whom had authorization or visas to enter the United States. The passengers told authorities how they had embarked from the Bahamas on November 13, 2012, under the direction of Russell, with the intent and expectation to illegally enter the United States near Jupiter, Florida.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Border Patrol for their work on this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.
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.