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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
06/09/2009

Hialeah, Fla., man sentenced to prison in migrant smuggling operation

Jovel Dominguez-Hernandez
Jovel Dominguez-Hernandez
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A 28-year-old man was sentenced in federal court yesterday to 36 months in prison followed by 24 months of supervised release for alien smuggling following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Jovel Dominguez-Hernandez, of Hialeah, Fla., was sentenced June 8 by U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra on charges of human smuggling.

According to documents filed with the court, at approximately 10 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2009, a Palm Beach Sherriff's Department (PBSO) marine unit spotted a vessel traveling without navigation lights in the area of Boynton Beach Inlet.  As the deputies attempted to catch up with the vessel, the boat turned and ran aground. Several individuals and the captain bailed out of the vessel.  A subsequent search of the area led to the recovery of seven Haitian migrants and one migrant from Sierra Leone.  Jovel Dominguez-Hernandez, the captain of the vessel, was located, arrested and charged for smuggling migrants from the Bahamas to the United States. He later admitted that he smuggled the migrants for $3,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of ICE's Office of Investigations in Fort Pierce.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John McMillan.

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.