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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Haitian Man Pleads Guilty to Alien Smuggling

A Haitian man pled guilty yesterday before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr. to alien smuggling.

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’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), made the announcement. 

Veronel Charles, 37, of Haiti, pled guilty to two counts of transporting aliens into the United States, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324(a).  Sentencing is scheduled for August 28, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg in Ft. Pierce.  At sentencing, Charles faces for each of the two counts a mandatory minimum of three years, up to a maximum of ten years, in prison.

According to court documents, Charles piloted a boat from the Bahamas during the night of March 15-16, 2015, to land on the Florida coast in the early morning hours in St. Lucie County.  With Charles in the boat were 19 other passengers, all unauthorized aliens from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  Five of the aliens aboard were aliens previously deported from the United States after criminal convictions for aggravated felonies.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of HSI, and the assistance of the U.S. Border Patrol and the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore M. 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 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 www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov

Human Smuggling
Updated December 7, 2015