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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Virgin Islands

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Venezuelan and Argentinean Men Apprehended Off of St. John Sentenced to 52 days for Illegal Entry

St. Thomas, USVI – Dionis Luiz Gomez, 31, of Venezuela and Roman Perez Hernandez, 34, of Argentina was sentenced today to 52 days for illegal entry, announced United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller also ordered Gomez and Hernandez to each pay a $10 special assessment.

According to court documents, on October 21, 2018 at approximately 9:00 p.m., agents of the United States Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations were patrolling the coastline of St. John near Haulover Bay, USVI when they encountered a Virgin Islands registered vessel with no running lights illuminated. Upon further inspection, the agents determined that there were five males onboard, including defendants Gomez and Hernandez. The vessel was on course to an area that is not a port of entry authorized by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Following his apprehension by federal law enforcement, defendant Gomez was read his Miranda Rights in Spanish language and waived his rights both verbally and in writing. He stated that he had arrived in Tortola, BVI on September 27, 2018.

Neither Gomez nor Hernandez were U.S. citizens, but were nationals of Venezuela and Argentina, respectively. Gomez and Hernandez did not have permission to enter the United States and the area where the boat was stopped was not a designated port of entry.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Unit and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sigrid M. Tejo-Sprotte.

Updated December 12, 2018