MIAMI – Two Brazilian nationals pleaded guilty Wednesday to smuggling illegal aliens into the United States for profit. The guilty plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Juliana Rose Tome-Froes, 36, and her husband, Fabio Rodrigues Froes, 49, pleaded guilty to six counts of bringing and attempting to bring aliens to the United States for commercial advantage and two counts of bringing and attempting to bring aliens to the United States for private financial gain.
According to plea documents, from at least October 2008 until approximately September 2010, the defendants organized, operated and managed a human smuggling network that operated in Brazil, France, England, the Bahamas and the United States. The defendants met with illegal aliens and negotiated forms of payment to be smuggled into the United States. Before the illegal aliens departed Brazil, the defendants instructed them to act like tourists and explained that the itinerary through Europe would support a tourist cover story. In exchange for approximately $16,000, Tome-Froes, with assistance from Froes, arranged air transportation from Brazil to Paris, then London and Nassau, Bahamas. Tome-Froes arranged the illegal aliens' lodging in Paris and Nassau, and then instructed them to fly to Freeport, Bahamas, where they waited for a boat to transport them to the United States. For the final leg into the United States, Tome-Froes coordinated with various individuals in South Florida to pilot a small boat to Freeport, which picked up the illegal aliens and transported them to the United States.
At sentencing, scheduled for March 21, Tome-Froes faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and Froes faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.