Canadian Man Arrested, Charged With Smuggling Aliens Into The United States
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Wanderson Dos Santos Freitas, a Brazilian citizen living in Toronto, Canada, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with bringing an alien to the United States for financial gain or commercial advantage. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison, a maximum of 10 years, and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles M. Kruly and Jonathan P. Cantil, who are handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on March 13, 2019, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a U.S. Border Patrol Agent spotted a black jet ski with three occupants, two males and one female, about 50-60 feet from the shoreline at Beaver Island State Park. When the occupants noticed the agent, the operator of the jet ski, the defendant, stepped into the water, and began to push the watercraft further away from the shoreline. Dos Santos Freitas continued to stand up in an apparent attempt to restart it, but the jet ski began to release smoke from the exhaust. After a couple minutes, the defendant began to wave at the agent and related that the jet ski appeared to be stuck in the ice. Air and Marine Operations were alerted and responded to the scene.
A short time later, Dos Santos Freitas got off the jet ski, abandoning his two passengers, and walked across the ice onto the shore. When asked by agents on shore for his citizenship, the defendant stated that he was a “permanent resident of Canada.” Dos Santos Freitas also stated that he did not have any immigration documentation which would allow him to enter the United States legally. The defendant was then placed under arrest.
The other male, Angelo Valentim-Zuccolotto, a citizen of Brazil, also walked across the ice onto the shoreline. The female passenger, Andria Raposo-Marte, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, stayed on the jet ski and appeared to be frozen in fear. Shortly before 10:00 a.m., the Grand Island Fire Department arrived in an inflatable boat and reached Raposo-Marte and safely returned her to the shoreline.
Valentim-Zuccolotto and Raposo-Marte were placed under arrest and are subject to administrative proceedings.
Defendant Wanderson Dos Santos Freitas made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and is being detained pending a detention hearing on March 18, 2019.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by U.S. Border Patrol, under the direction of Patrol Agent in Charge Jeffrey Wilson, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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