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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 24, 2020

Leader of Alien Smuggling Operation Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison

On January 22, 2020, George Ferrer Sanchez, 46, of Miramar, Florida, was sentenced to 108 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke in Miami, Florida for orchestrating a conspiracy to launder proceeds of alien smuggling operation that transported Cuban nationals to Mexico, into the United States.  As part of the Court’s sentence, Ferrer Sanchez was ordered to pay a $5.4 million forfeiture money judgment and to forfeit two real properties to the United States.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Miami Field Office, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement.

Ferrer Sanchez previously pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit money laundering (Case No. 19cr20085). 

According to the court record, including the agreed upon factual proffer and evidence presented during the sentencing hearing, from or around January 2009 or earlier, and continuing to at least June 2015 or later, Ferrer Sanchez was the leader of an alien smuggling conspiracy operating in Miami, Florida and elsewhere.  Ferrer Sanchez directed an operation that stole vessels used to smuggle Cuban nationals to the United States through Mexico. Conspirators brought the migrants out of Cuba, in exchange for payment for their smuggling services.  Once migrants were in Mexico, the conspiracy utilized phone calls to family members and friends in South Florida to secure payment for their release. Ferrer Sanchez also conspired with others to acquire funds from the migrants’ family members in South Florida, which were laundered through the business and real property, in order to promote and further their alien smuggling conspiracy.

This prosecution is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Operation Sisyphus Task Force, a multi-agency partnership to combat Caribbean based organized crime that includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, FBI Miami and HSI Miami.  In recent years, the Operation Sisyphus Task Force has targeted organizations utilizing coercion and extortion to compel migrants and their families to make payments for the release of loved ones. 

If you believe you are a victim of migrant coercion or extortion or know someone who is, you are encouraged to call 1-866-347-2423 or visit https://www.ice.gov/tipline. The toll-free phone number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Help is available in English, Spanish, and additional languages. 

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the ICE-HSI and FBI in this matter.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ignacio J. Vázquez, Jr., and J. Mackenzie Duane. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adrienne Rosen and Annika Miranda are assigned to the asset forfeiture aspects of the case.

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 at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated January 24, 2020