14 April – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced today that yesterday, defendants, Rogino Sanchez and Ricardo Jose Contreras, made their initial appearance yesterday in federal court in Ft. Pierce, Florida, before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Ann E. Vitunac to face charges of transporting illegal aliens. The criminal complaint, filed on April 5, 2005, charges the defendants with transporting illegal aliens within the United States for profit, in violation of Title 8, Untied States Code, Sections 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii) and (B)(i); and conspiring to transport illegal aliens within the United States for profit, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2. Judge Vitunac ordered the defendants to be held in pre-trial detention, after the defendants stipulated to such detention.
According to the criminal complaint, the defendants picked up a group of illegal aliens from a house in the Phoenix, Arizona area and drove to Alabama and then to Florida. Along the way, the defendants dropped off the illegal immigrants and collected varying amounts of money for their transportation. The last illegal immigrant was an eighteen year old female, referred to as S.M. in the criminal complaint. S.M.’s father had paid over $2,500 to other individuals to have her smuggled into the United States. He was to pay a balance of $2,500, when she was delivered to him. When the father met the defendants and his daughter at a K-Mart in Lantana, he did not have the full amount he owed, and asked for a short period of time to go to a bank to get money. The defendants refused and fled with his daughter. The defendants were arrested subsequently by the Lantana Police Department.
“Alien smugglers jeopardize the lives of foreigners who simply yearn for a better life,” said Mr. Jiménez. “The defendants, as charged, profited from the transportation of illegal aliens across the country, and abducted the young alien when her family was unable to complete payment. Fortunately, because of the prompt response of our law enforcement partners, the young woman was rescued.”
“This case illustrates our mission to investigate and dismantle illegal smuggling organizations. We are going after the trafficking networks that have no regard for human life, ” said Mr. Torres. “We will continue our investigative efforts in disrupting alien smuggling organizations whose only goal is to profit at the expense of others.”
If convicted on the substantive charge of transporting aliens within the United States for profit, the defendants face a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of ten (10) years. If convicted on the conspiracy charge, the defendants face a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Lantana Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Janice Leclainche.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on