13 December 2004 – LAWFUEL – First for law news – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced today the arrests of sixteen (16) defendants over the course of December 11 and 12, 2004, on alien smuggling charges that are pending in the Southern District of Florida in Miami. Eight (8) defendants were arrested in Miami, and eight (8) others in New York. All of the defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances today in federal court.
Fifteen (15) defendants are charged by Indictment and one (1) is charged by
criminal complaint. A total of twelve (12) defendants are charged in five (5)
Indictments, with one (1) count of conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens into the
United States for profit, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section
1324(a)(2)(B)(ii), and Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and substantive
counts of alien smuggling, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section
1324(a)(2)(B)(ii). Charged together in one (1) Indictment are defendants, Julio
Alfredo Castillo-Chamba and Ilda Beatriz Perez-Ruiz, both of whom were arrested in
New York. Another Indictment charges defendants, Carlos Roman Pina-Reinozo, Luis
Emilio Cajias-Solis, and Habibur Rahman. Pina-Reinozo was arrested in New York;
the other two(2) defendants were arrested in Miami. Defendants, Edwin Carpio and
Amadeo Carpio, are charged in a third Indictment. The former was arrested in New
York; the latter in Miami. Charged in a fourth Indictment are defendants, Alfonso
Rodas, Raul Rodas, and Rosa Dolores Lema-Paucar, all of whom were arrested in New
York. The fifth Indictment charges defendants, Kennedy Stevenson Pale-Benavides
and Juan Carlos Noboa-Perez, both of whom were arrested in Miami.
In addition to the five (5) Indictments referred to above, three (3) Indictments
separately charge defendants, Jose Manuel Aldaz, Ruben Hernan Zumba, and Teresa
De Jesus Barzola-Herrera, respectively, with smuggling illegal aliens into the United
States for profit, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section
1324(a)(2)(B)(ii), and encouraging and inducing illegal aliens to come to the
United States, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section
1324(a)(1)(A)(iv). All of these defendants were arrested in Miami.
A criminal complaint charges defendant, Patricio Rene Farfan-Matute, with smuggling
illegal aliens into the United States for profit, in violation of Title 8, United
States Code, Section 1324(a)(2)(B)(ii). Farfan-Mautute was arrested in New York.
If convicted of conspiring to smuggle aliens, the defendants face a maximum
statutory term of five (5) years in prison. If convicted on substantive alien
smuggling charges, the defendants face a maximum statutory term of fifteen (15)
years in prison.
The arrests in this prosecution are the result of a nine-month investigative
operation, known as “Operation Palmdale,” conducted in Miami, New York, and Ecuador
by the ICE Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit. Beginning in the spring of 2004,
using immigration documents provided by undercover agents, the defendants
participated in the smuggling of Ecuadorian and Chinese nationals into the United
States by commercial airline from Ecuador. The defendants paid agents smuggling
fees ranging from U.S.$9,000 to U.S.$20,000 per alien.
“Because of this operation’s success, 16 individuals that sought to profit
illegally from the smuggling trade have been brought to justice,” said Mr. Jiménez.
“Together with our law enforcement partners, we remain committed to disrupting the
smuggling trade and holding smugglers accountable for their illegal acts, no matter
where in the world they may operate. I am proud of the work of our prosecutors and
the agents in this case.”
“Today we have dismantled a major human smuggling enterprise that funneled
individuals from China and Latin America into this country illegally,” said Mr.
Torres. “The criminal organizations behind this scheme profited enormously at the
expense of their human clients, in some cases charging as much as $20,000 per
person. Targeting the multi-billion dollar human smuggling trade is a key priority
for ICE and the Department of Homeland Security.”
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney