A Brazilian cruise ship passenger who was charged with illegally re-entering the United States has cut off her electronic monitor and skipped bail, according to testimony in U.S. District Court Wednesday.
Joice Iara Costa-DeSouza was one of several Brazilian nationals who took a cruise from the Dominican Republic to the British Virgin Islands and did not report back to their ship in Tortola on March 12, according to an affidavit filed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
Federal agents received photographs of the passengers and information that they may have entered the U.S. Virgin Islands, so they went to the ferry dock on St. Thomas to screen passengers arriving from St. John, according to the affidavit.
There, they found DeSouza, who admitted to being in the country illegally, and records showed she had pleaded guilty to illegal entry eight months prior. She was sentenced to 10 months in prison and deported on Nov. 22, according to court records.
Following her arrest on March 12, she was released after signing an unsecured $10,000 bond on March 19, and her house arrest was reduced to a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in June, according to court records.
She was allowed to live in the third-party custody of a relative at his home in New Jersey, where probation officials said she apparently cut off her ankle monitor and skipped bail, according to court testimony by attorneys during a status conference Wednesday.
“That is the status of this case that we’re aware of,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan Albino.
Defense attorney Darren John-Baptiste said the parties were in the midst of plea negotiations when the pandemic delayed a hearing scheduled in August, and “it came to the parties’ attention” on Aug. 5 that DeSouza had absconded.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Molloy revoked DeSouza’s bail and issued a warrant for her arrest.