Angel De Jesus Marrero, 31, of Puerto Rico pleaded guilty Tuesday in District Court on St. Thomas to encouraging and inducing aliens to illegally enter the United States, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
According to the plea agreement filed with the court, on Dec. 22, Marrero was solicited by his codefendant, Rodriguez Ramirez, to assist in the passage of five illegal Brazilian nationals through the St. Thomas airport by checking them in at the airline ticket kiosk. Afterward, he was to ensure that the illegal aliens made it to the appropriate gate to depart St. Thomas for New York.
Federal agents, however, thwarted the plan before anyone boarded the aircraft and apprehended the defendants along with the illegal aliens.
Marrero faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing date has been set for Sept. 1. Ramirez previously pleaded guilty to bribing a Customs officer and is awaiting sentencing on June 16.
The case was investigated by Custom and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte.