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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

2 vessel operators indicted in failed smuggling attempt of 19 Dominican nationals

Four migrants charged with illegal re-entry after deportation

MIAMI - Two Cuban nationals were indicted on alien smuggling charges following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison.

Nicolay Ramirez Ponce, 41, and Adalberto Perez, 43, were indicted on Nov. 25, 2008 on charges of conspiracy to smuggle aliens into the United States, encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the United States, and attempting to bring in aliens for commercial and private financial gain.

According to the charges, on Nov. 15, 2008, at approximately 12:30 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Drummond was conducting a training exercise in the area of Government Cut, Fla. The USCGC Drummond dispatched a boat to conduct a boarding on a 40-foot vessel bearing Fla. registration # FL5886NF heading into Government Cut. The Coast Guard boarding crew identified Nicolay Ramirez-Ponce and Adalberto Perez as the operators of the vessel. A search of the vessel revealed 19 undocumented Dominican nationals hidden below the deck, none of which had permission to enter the United States.

Additionally, four of the Dominican nationals found on board the vessel were identified as being previously deported from the United States. These four individuals were separately indicted on federal criminal charges for violating Title 8, United States Code, Section 1326, re-entry by a removed alien.

The four Dominican nationals charged with attempting to enter the United States after having been previously deported face up to 10 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta commended the investigative efforts of ICE's Office of Investigations and the interdiction of the defendants by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Juenger and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Russ Brown.

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.