GRAND JURY RETURNS INDICTMENT AGAINST PUERTO RICAN RESIDENT AND DOMINICAN REPUBLIC CITIZEN FOR TRANSPORTING ILLEGAL ALIENS ON A MARITIME VESSEL
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, USVI – On February 17, 2022, a federal Grand Jury returned a seven-count Bill of Indictment against Alejo Ocasio Venerio, 31, of Puerto Rico, and Franklyn Grullon Jorge, 44, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, charging them both with transporting illegal aliens on their vessel, United States Attorney Gretchen Shappert announced.
The Indictment stems from an incident occurring on January 12, 2022, when federal agents observed defendants boarding seven illegal nationals from India onto their vessel for the purpose of transporting them to Puerto Rico. Under federal law, defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
United States Attorney Shappert reminds the public that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Everard E. Potter.
Updated April 19, 2023