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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
03/20/2009

Florida man gets 10 years for human smuggling

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A 30-year-old man from Loxahatchee, Fla., was sentenced here today to 10 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to smuggle aliens into the United States following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Luis Perez, a Cuban national, helped arrange boat trips for Cuban aliens seeking to be smuggled into the United States. According the indictment, none of the Cuban nationals had legal documents allowing them to enter or reside in the United States.

Perez organized the November 2007 smuggling trip for 35 Cuban nationals on a 33-foot boat, along with two crew members, identified as co-defendants Angel Arce Perez and Aurelio Sanchez Ortega. The vessel contained only five life preservers. One of the Cuban nationals drowned as he tried to swim to shore on Palm Beach. The other 34 aliens were brought ashore.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Town of Palm Beach Police Department, West Palm Beach Police Department and the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emalyn Webber.