FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Two Cuban nationals were indicted on charges of conspiracy to smuggle aliens and encouraging and inducing 25 Haitian nationals to come to the United States following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) led investigation. If convicted, both defendants face up to 10 years imprisonment.
On October 24, defendants Osmin Nodarse, 31, and John Sosa, 26, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to smuggle aliens and encouraging and inducing twenty-five Haitian nationals to come to the United States, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv), and Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(v)(I). The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on November 7, 2008.
According to the allegations in the indictment and documents filed with the court, on October 10, 2008, a United States Coast Guard cutter observed two vessels traveling together in a westerly direction towards the United States in international waters between the Bahamas and the United States. The Coast Guard Cutter turned on its blue light and sirens and stopped the vessel closest to the cutter. The vessel's operator, defendant Osmin Nodarse, was questioned by Coast Guard personnel and claimed that he was the only person on board his vessel. A Coast Guard boarding team then boarded Nodarse's vessel and discovered 17 Haitian nationals hidden in the cabin of the vessel.
The United States Coast Guard notified U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Marine Unit to stop the second vessel. The second boat, captained by defendant John Sosa, was eventually stopped approximately five nautical miles east of the coast of Fort Lauderdale. Upon inspection of Sosa's vessel, CBP officers discovered eight Haitian nationals.
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida R. Alexander Acosta commended the cooperation and investigative efforts of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations, 7th Coast Guard District, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection - Field Operations, and Customs and Border Protection - Miami Air and Marine.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Geoffrey Brown.