3 November – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Rear Admiral D. Brian Peterman, Commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District; Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Thomas S. Winkowski, Director, Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection, announced that Alexander Gil Rodriguez and Luis Manuel Taboada-Cabrera pled guilty today in United States District Court in Miami, Florida, to conspiracy to encourage and induce aliens to illegally enter the United States, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Sections 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) and 1324(a)(1)(A)(v)(I). As part of the plea agreements, each defendant has agreed to a sentencing enhancement under the advisory sentencing guidelines on the grounds that a death resulted from their activities. Each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing has been set for January 24, 2006 before U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore.
According to the criminal complaint affidavit, the defendants used a boat to travel to Cuba, where twenty-nine (29) Cuban nationals came aboard for the purpose of unlawfully entering the United States. The vessel was subsequently detected by the U.S. Coast Guard traveling without lights towards the United States. The defendants disregarded all Coast Guard warnings to stop and attempted to elude the Coast Guard. Following a high-speed chase, the vessel capsized and the defendants were apprehended. During the rescue efforts, it was discovered that a six-year old boy had drowned.
Mr. Acosta stated, “These smuggling ventures recklessly create a substantial risk of death. In this case, an innocent six-year old boy died. This must stop. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will take necessary steps to prosecute both those who engage in the smuggling and those who form criminal enterprises to profit from the hopes of those who seek freedom.”
Mr. Acosta would like to thank in particular the efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard, ICE, and Customs and Border Protection for their contributions to the prosecution of this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dana O. Washington.
A copy of all press releases 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 <http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov