STT Man Sentenced for Transporting Undocumented Passenger

Ahmaud Rodriguez, 25, was sentenced Thursday on his conviction of transporting a woman with no documentation for entering the United States from the British Virgin Islands into the waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced today.

According to court documents filed in the case, on Dec. 7 Rodriguez agreed to transport an illegal alien from Tortola, BVI, to St. Thomas, USVI for a cash payment. Around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, Rodriguez arrived in a small dinghy vessel at a ferry dock in Tortola, where he met his illegal passenger, whose name was not reported in Shappert’s news release.

Court documents said Rodriguez collected his fee and made his way with the passenger into U.S. waters. Meanwhile, Customs and Border Patrol agents patrolling the waters north of St. John observed a vessel on their radar at approximately 4:40 a.m. The vessel was operating without navigation lights and accordingly, agents stopped and boarded the boat to conduct an inspection.

Upon boarding, agents observed Rodriguez and a female passenger. The passenger acknowledged that she had flown from the Dominican Republic to Tortola, BVI, where she met Rodriguez and boarded his boat for the trip to St. Thomas.

District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy sentenced Rodriguez to six months of imprisonment, substituted by six months of home detention and four years of probation.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Virgin Islands.