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Immigration News

Immigrant Smugglers and Immigrants Sentenced After Failed Venture

Kelsey James McQueen, 24, of the Bahamas; Juan Carlos Paredes-Rodriguez, 44, of the Dominican Republic; Oneil Black, 32, Andrew Fitzgerald Saint Aubyn Brissett, 45, Sheldon Lewis, 35, and Carolyn Denise Waddles, 36, all of Jamaica, were sentenced to prison in connection with a failed migrant smuggling venture in West Palm Beach in April.

The sentences follow an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in West Palm Beach, with the assistance of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine and Field Operations and the U.S. Coast Guard.

According to documents filed with the court, on April 28, CBP patrol vessels pursued the 41-foot sportfish vessel Mary Carla, which was registered in the State of Florida and had departed from the Grand Bahamas en route to the West Palm Beach area. This pursuit ended when Marine Interdiction Agents boarded the vessel and brought it to a stop. A total of 14 migrants were on board the boat, including Paredes-Rodriguez, Black, Brissett, Lewis, and Waddles. McQueen was the boat captain.

On April 29, ICE special agents arrested them on federal criminal charges. All were subsequently indicted and pleaded guilty.

McQueen pleaded guilty to alien smuggling, attempting re-entry after deportation, and failure to heave. Paredes-Rodriguez, Black, Brissett, Lewis and Waddles pleaded guilty to attempting to illegally re-enter the United States after deportation.

On Oct. 1, McQueen was sentenced to 84 months in prison. Paredes-Rodriguez was sentenced to 36 months in prison, Black was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and Brissett was sentenced to 36 months in prison. Lewis was sentenced on Oct. 8 to eight months in prison for illegal re-entry after deportation of an alien convicted of a felony and Waddles was sentenced on Oct. 29 to 24 months in prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William T. Zloch.