FT. PIERCE, Fla. - A human smuggler was sentenced today to six life sentences plus a consecutive 32- year term of imprisonment for his participation in alien smuggling and narcotics trafficking conspiracies that resulted in the deaths of three aliens following a multi-agency law enforcement investigation.
Rickey Thompson was convicted by a jury last July following a three week trial before United States District Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley of three counts of second degree murder, three counts of alien smuggling resulting in death, 15 counts of alien smuggling placing the lives of aliens in jeopardy, six counts of narcotics trafficking, two counts of possession of firearms, and one count of illegal re-entry after deportation. His six life sentences were for the second degree murder and alien smuggling resulting in death counts. The 32- year consecutive term of imprisonment was for using firearms during the commission of a crime of violence.
Thompson also received sentences between five and 20 years on the remaining alien smuggling and narcotics trafficking counts. Thompson was ordered to pay a special assessment of $100 for each of the 30 counts of which he was convicted, for a total of $3,000.
According to the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, Thompson and his co-defendant Leon Brice Johnson, formerly a resident of the Bahamas, who previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment, participated in two separate smuggling trips - one in August 2006, and a second in December 2006. During each trip, Thompson, the boat captain, and Johnson, the co-captain, transported a group of illegal aliens and narcotics from Freeport, Bahamas, to Jupiter Island, aboard Thompson's 33-foot speed boat. The aliens paid Thompson fees ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 for the trip and were assured that Thompson would drop them off on the beach or in water no higher than their knees.