Five Indicted on Fraudulent Seamen Charges
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida has stated that five people have been indicted for bringing aliens into the United States by falsely asserting that the aliens were seamen joining ships in U.S. ports. The indicted individuals allegedly prepared false identification documents and made false statements to government officials. If convicted, the defendants face between five and ten years' imprisonment and fines of $250,000 as to each count.
Maria Machado Diaz, Larry Milton, Guillermo Vidaurre, Delber Diaz, and Marvin Joseph, Jr., are being charged with migrant smuggling. They are facing five and ten years' imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 as to each count.
The agencies have been investigating Diaz and associates since October 2002. Undercover agents conducted numerous operations in which they purchased false mariner employment documents, kept tight surveillance and obtained video and audio recordings from and of the suspects. The indictment charges that the defendants sent numerous letters to the United States government stating that certain aliens were guaranteed employment on ships docked in Miami. In each case, the aliens were not guaranteed employment on the vessels as stated by the defendants. The indictment also charges that by sending the letters, the defendants were inducing and encouraging the aliens to enter the United States despite knowing that the aliens did not have authority to enter the country.
All suspects arrested were placed in the custody of the United States Marshals. Diaz is being held on a $50,000 corporate security bond. Milton and Vidaurre were both released on $50,000 personal security bonds.
Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, commended the investigative efforts of the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott E. Ray.