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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Miami resident convicted of alien smuggling involving death

MIAMI - Following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-led investigation, Carlos Manuel Reyes, 38, of Miami-Dade County, was convicted by a jury in Key West, Fla., of alien smuggling-related charges involving the death of a 6-year-old child.

On Oct. 13, 2005, at approximately 12:30 a.m., the United States Coast Guard (USCG) cutter Dauntless interdicted a 33-foot "go-fast" vessel traveling north at a high rate of speed and loaded with 39 people onboard. Onboard the boat, were the boat's operators and 31 Cuban nationals. As the USCG pursued the vessel, it capsized and a 6-year-old boy became trapped underneath the boat and drowned.

According to evidence presented at a two-day trial, Reyes was identified as one of the organizers of the attempted alien smuggling venture and had a part in coordinating and organizing the smuggling trip in Cuba. He outfitted the 33-foot boat while his co-conspirators Gil-Rodriguez and Taboada-Cabrera were planning to load the 29 Cuban nationals on the boat. As a result of an investigation by ICE special agents, Reyes was arrested on July 9 and convicted on Oct. 15 of 30-counts of conspiracy to smuggle aliens resulting in death.

On Nov. 2, 2005, co-conspirators Gil-Rodriguez and Taboada-Cabrera pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit alien smuggling. On March 20, 2006, they were each sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Reyes faces a term of up to life imprisonment at his sentencing on Jan. 19, 2010, before U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore in Key West.

The investigation was conducted by ICE's Office of Investigations with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the USCG Investigative Service (CGIS). The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Raich.