District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez on Monday sentenced Kenrick Christopher, 48, of Grenada to 23 months in prison, and Jeard Shillingford, 33, of Dominica to 18 months in prison for encouraging and inducing immigrants to illegally enter the United States, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
Gomez sentenced both men also to serve three years of supervised release.
According to Sharpe, on June 24, Christopher and Shillingford pleaded guilty to encouraging and inducing illegal immigrants to enter the United States for commercial or financial gain. As part of their pleas, Christopher and Shillingford admitted to operating a sailing vessel containing 61 Haitian nationals seeking to enter the United States illegally and that they did so for commercial or financial gain knowing that their actions were unlawful.
The United States Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted the vessel June 10 off the coast of St. John.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David White.