Ageing human smugglers sentenced to 12 months

POSTED: 07/21/11 11:32 AM

St. Maarten – Puerto Ricans Carlos Julio Monge Rios and Marcial Rios were sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in the Court in First Instance yesterday for an attempt to smuggle thirteen Brazilians via St. Maarten to United States territory on April 12 of this year. Monge Rios, 51, and Rios, who celebrated his 65th birthday last week in the Pointe Blanche prison, will both appeal the verdict.

Prosecutor Mr. J.C.G. van der Wulp demanded a 30 month prison sentence during the trial on June 30, while attorney Mr. G. Hatzmann argued that his clients had actually completed the crime and that they should therefore be acquitted because the prosecution had charged them with an attempt to smuggle the Brazilians.

The two ageing Puerto Ricans has come with their boat to St. Maarten at the request of two men, identified as Jorge and Flaco. In the Chesterfield marina they let the Brazilians board their vessel, but when they spotted a coast guard vessel they told everybody to leave in a hurry. The two defendants stood to receive $10, 000 for transporting the Brazilians to Puerto Rico.

Judge Mr. M. Keppels conceded in her considerations that there is a thin line between an attempt at human smuggling and a completed crime. But she ruled that the actions by the Puerto Ricans qualified as an attempt.

“The defendants’ intention was to smuggle the Brazilians per boat from St. Maarten to Puerto Rico. By allowing the Brazilians to board the vessel they started with the execution of the human smuggling, but the actual transport had not started yet.”

Based on this conclusion, the Judge ruled that the defendants had not been “actually assisting” with the human smuggling.

Mr. Keppels rejected the defense argument that the defendants had voluntarily abandoned their plan. “They saw the coast guard boat and were afraid that they would get caught.”

The Judge took into account that the defendants do not have a criminal record. She sentenced both men to 12 months imprisonment. Monge Rios and Rios spent already a bit more than three months in pretrial detention, so they have another 9 months to go. If they qualify for the customary grace for foreign inmates, they will have to serve one third of the sentence, so they could be on their way home by half October.

Did you like this? Share it:
Ageing human smugglers sentenced to 12 months by

Comments are closed.