West Palm Beach, Fla. - A joint effort between Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement led to the arrest of a Bahamian national for smuggling citizens of Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic from the Bahamas to the United States. Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol, CBP Office of Air and Marine and Homeland Security Investigations arrested and charged Valentino Bowleg with bringing aliens into the United States unlawfully.
On May 6, 2012, Bowleg left the Bahamas with 14 undocumented aliens in his small pleasure craft. Some of the undocumented aliens he was attempting to bring to the United States had been previously deported based on prior felony criminal convictions. CBP Office of Air and Marine agents were able to interdict the heavily laden vessel off the shore of Palm Beach before it could make landfall.
On November 2, 2012, Bowleg was convicted and sentenced to 84 months in Federal prison for violating Title 8 USC 1324 - Alien Smuggling, and Title 8 USC 1327 - Aiding Entry of Criminal Aliens. The enhanced sentence was because Bowleg endangered the lives of the aliens he smuggled by overloading the vessel and for not possessing sufficient flotation devices.
On August 16, 2012, Bowleg's co-conspirator, Bahamian national Terico Pratt was also convicted of Alien Smuggling and sentenced to 36 months in prison.
The U.S. Border Patrol and ICE Homeland Security Investigations co-prosecuted the case through the U.S. Attorney's office in West Palm Beach, Southern District of Florida.
The Miami Sector Border Patrol is committed to ensuring America's communities are safe, and that dangerous individuals are prevented from making it into the United States.
Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity, including alien and drug smuggling. They can remain anonymous by calling the Miami Sector Border Patrol at (877) 872-7435, a toll free number.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.