A man from the Dominican Republic was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison for illegally re-entering the country, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Jose Alfredo Rondon Castro, 40, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez on Thursday to serve the 18 months behind bars, as well as three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.
Castro pleaded guilty to illegal re-entry on Nov. 13 under an agreement with prosecutors.
According to court documents, about 9 p.m. on Oct. 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations personnel stopped a vessel in North Haulover Bay on St. John after agents observed that the vessel was operating without its lights on.
After agents stopped the vessel, they found five men on board. Brice Todman, 36, of St. John, was identified as the captain, and the other four men were from the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Venezuela and did not have permission to be in the United States.
Two of the four illegal immigrants admitted to agents that they had paid Todman $1,000 each to transport them from Tortola to St. John.
Castro had previously been ordered deported in February and did not have permission from the Department of Homeland Security to re-enter the United States.
Each faced possible sentences of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Todman also pleaded guilty under an agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to serve six months in prison on Feb. 13.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security’s Investigations unit and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Unit and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sigrid M. Tejo-Sprotte.