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Press Release

Man Apprehended on a Dinghy North of St. John Sentenced for Transporting an Illegal Alien from Tortola

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Virgin Islands

St. Thomas, USVI – United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert for the District of the Virgin Islands announced today that Ahmaud Rodriguez, 25, was sentenced on his conviction of transporting an illegal alien.

According to court documents filed in the case, on December 7, 2019, Rodriguez agreed to transport an illegal alien from Tortola, BVI to St. Thomas, USVI for a cash payment. Around 4:30 a.m. on December 8th, Rodriguez arrived in a small dinghy vessel at a ferry dock in Tortola, BVI where he met his illegal passenger. Rodriguez collected his fee and made his way with the passenger into U.S. waters. Meanwhile, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents patrolling the waters north of St. John observed a vessel on their radar at approximately 4:40 a.m. The vessel was operating without navigation lights and accordingly, agents stopped and boarded the boat to conduct an inspection.

Upon boarding, agents observed Rodriguez and a female passenger. The passenger acknowledged that she had flown from the Dominican Republic to Tortola, BVI where she met Rodriguez and boarded his boat for the trip to St. Thomas.

District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy sentenced Rodriguez to six months of imprisonment, substituted by six months of home detention and four years of probation.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office of the Virgin Islands.

Updated October 5, 2020

Human Smuggling