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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
06/06/2008

10 additional Florida residents indicted on alien smuggling charges

MIAMI – An investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other law enforcement agencies led to the indictments of 10 Florida residents, all charged with alien smuggling and related offenses involving the attempted smuggling of more than 130 foreign nationals into the United States.

On May 29 and May 30, 2008, federal grand juries in Key West and Miami returned five separate indictments charging defendants Alexis Sardinas, 37; Rodolfo Perez-Apolinares, 34; Jose Pena-Rodriguez, 32; Junior Santiesteban, 31; Juan Carlos Badia-Vera, 36; Luis Alberto Velaquez-Ojeida, 34; Juan Hermas Sanchez Brito, 26; Maikel Cedre-Penton, 21; Narve Carmona Acanda, 27; and Andray Pimienta Cruz, 24, with conspiracy to smuggle aliens, encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the United States, and fleeing from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Officers.  If convicted, each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

The case summaries are as follows:     

United States v. Alexis Sardinas and Rodolfo Perez-Apolinares, Case No. 08-10041-CR-GOLD.  Alexis Sardinas of Hialeah, Fla., and Rodolfo Perez-Apolinares of Port St. Lucie, Fla., are charged with conspiracy to smuggle aliens and encouraging and inducing 19 Cuban nationals to come to the United States in May 2008.

United States v. Juan Carlos Badia-Vera and Luis Alberto Velaquez-Ojeida, Case No. 08-20467-CR-ALTONAGA.  Juan Carlos Badia-Vera of Altamante Springs, Fla., and Luis Alberto Velaquez-Ojeida of Homestead, Fla., are charged with conspiracy to smuggle aliens and encouraging and inducing 33 Cuban nationals to come to the United States, and fleeing from Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine units in May 2008.

United States v. Jose Pena-Rodriguez and Junior Santiesteban, Case No. 08-20466-CR-GOLD.  Jose Pena-Rodriguez of North Miami Beach, Florida, and Junior Santiesteban of Miami, Florida, are charged with conspiring to smuggle aliens and encouraging and inducing 25 Cuban Nationals, and fleeing from Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine units in May 2008.

United States v. Juan Hermas Sanchez Brito and Maikel Cedre-Penton, Case No. 08-10042-CR-GOLD.  Juan Hermas Sanchez Brito of Hialeah, Fla., and Maikel Cedre-Penton of Miami, Fla., are charged with conspiracy and encouraging and inducing 26 Cuban nationals to come to the United States in April 2007.

United States v. Narve Carmona Acanda and Andray Pimienta Cruz, Case No. 08-10040-CR-MARTINEZ.  Narve Carmona Acanda of Hialeah, Fla., and Andray Pimienta Cruz of Hialeah, Fla., are charged with conspiracy to smuggle aliens and encouraging and inducing 28 Cuban nationals to come to the United States in January 2008.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (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 prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys assigned to the Major Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.