ST. THOMAS — Kendrick Christopher, 47, a Grenadian national, and Jeard Shillingford, 33, a Dominican national, pleaded guilty Wednesday, June 24, in District Court on St. Thomas to charges of encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the United States for commercial or financial gain in violation of law, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
As part of their pleas, Christopher and Shillingford admitted operating a sailing vessel containing 61 Haitian nationals seeking to enter the United States illegally and that they did so for commercial or financial gain knowing that their actions were unlawful.
The United States Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted the vessel off the coast of St. John on June 10. Christopher and Shillingford face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case is being investigated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David White.