Human trafficker accused of bribing a public official | Local News

ST. THOMAS – A man from the Dominican Republic pleaded guilty on Friday to bribing a public official to smuggle five Brazilians through King Airport in New York City.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Special Agent for Homeland Security Michael Rodrigues, Miguel Rodriguez Ramirez, a lawful permanent resident living in Puerto Rico, attempted to bribe the United States Customs and Border Protection officer, Oscar Sanchez, for his assistance in smuggling foreigners past customs at St Thomas Airport.

According to the criminal complaint, Ramirez had told Sanchez’s brother-in-law that he was “looking for an employee of the customs and border patrol in St. Thomas to facilitate the movement of illegal aliens with his forged documents through the St. Thomas airport. Thomas “.

Sanchez told investigators that Ramirez had previously solicited the brother-in-law “to be an internal drug carrier on flights from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to San Juan.”

The officer told investigators that it is also common knowledge that Ramirez sold counterfeit identity documents.

He told them that Ramirez “is going to St. Thomas to coordinate the movement of illegal aliens from St. Thomas to San Juan”, and that Sanchez “could make money if he could facilitate that, since he was previously assigned to Saint-Thomas. “

Federal agents arranged taped meetings with Ramirez, where, according to the criminal complaint, he “offered to pay $ 1,500 for every foreigner Sanchez could let through the customs and border patrol checkpoint at the airport. of St. Thomas “.

Said the effort would require “another person at the airport to work with him to have the aliens sent to him for treatment,” Ramirez agreed to pay an additional $ 500 per person, and “said he had five aliens in St. Thomas. be smuggled.

Ramirez was arrested on December 21 “after paying $ 10,080 in cash for smuggling five illegal aliens” at the customs checkpoint at King Airport.

The five extraterrestrials turned out to be “Brazilians without status in the United States,” according to the complaint.

District Judge Curtis Gomez maintained Ramirez’s status in official custody. A sentencing date has been set for June 16.

Ramirez faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.

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