MIAMI - A human smuggling ring organizer and former Miami resident was sentenced to ten years in prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to transport/harbor aliens. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida prosecution was a direct result of the joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD).
The defendant was identified as Ramon Barrabi-Puentes, 45, a Cuban national, who was convicted by a Key West jury on February 1, 2008 for conspiracy to smuggle aliens to the United States. On Friday, August 15, U.S. Senior District Court Judge James Lawrence King sentenced Barrabi-Puentes to serve a ten-year term of imprisonment, which is the highest possible sentence authorized by law for his involvement in the conspiracy. Judge King also ordered the forfeiture of several boats owned or maintained by Barrabi-Puentes, as well as a fine in the amount of $25,000. Previously, Judge King had sentenced eleven other members of the conspiracy. Six of the twelve defendants received sentences of five years or more for their involvement in the conspiracy.
The investigation began in April 2006 into the Barrabi-Puentes alien smuggling organization. Each member agency brings a wealth of experience and particular expertise in areas necessary to successfully investigate and prosecute alien smuggling violations.
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida R. Alexander Acosta commended the outstanding investigative efforts of ICE, FBI, USCG, DEA, and MDPD. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karen Gilbert, Adam S. Fels, and Alison Lehr.