September 5, 2008
MIAMI -Eighteen individuals were indicted for their alleged participation in a human smuggling venture involving 185 foreign nationals following a U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.
Federal grand juries sitting in Key West and Miami returned 11 separate indictments charging defendants Gerson Pereira da Silva, Vanderson Rosa Pereira, Rafael Gonzalez, Alexander Garcia, Dubierkis Hernandez-Rodriguez, Michelsys Landin-Aleman, Oneche Garcia-Cordero, Junior Arce De La Cruz, Ivan Almagro, Jose Adolfo Jesurun-Rosario, Rafael Lopez, Roberto Sotolongo, George Torres, Pomposo Rojas, Maykel Perez, Yoviesky Padilla-Martinez, Lazaro Cruz-Hernandez, and Alexis Lobelle Arrue with conspiracy to smuggle aliens and encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the United States. If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison
This enforcement action was part of the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), a comprehensive multi-year plan launched by the Department of Homeland Security to secure America's borders and reduce illegal migration. Under SBI, Homeland Security seeks to gain operational control of both the northern and southern borders, while re-engineering the detention and removal system to ensure that illegal aliens are removed from the country quickly and efficiently. SBI also involves strong interior enforcement efforts, including enhanced worksite enforcement investigations and intensified efforts to track down and remove illegal aliens inside this country.
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida R. Alexander Acosta commended the cooperation and investigative efforts of ICE, the 7th Coast Guard District, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection - Field Operations, and Customs and Border Protection - Miami Air and Marine.
These cases are being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys assigned to the Major Crimes Section.
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