A federal jury convicted two St. John men – Davidson Alfred, 49, and Lamorthe Delva, 44 – of transporting illegal immigrants, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
Tuesday’s guilty verdict came following a two-day trial in district court on St. Thomas.
Alfred also was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on a federal officer.
Evidence at the trial outlined the following sequence of events:
During the night on Nov. 1, 2012, a boat carrying 30 illegal immigrants from Haiti arrived on the east end of St. John and let the immigrants off the boat in the water close to shore. The immigrants waded ashore and hid in the bushes until morning. Around 11 a.m., some of the immigrants left the bushes and saw a vehicle containing Delva and Alfred.
Delva asked the man in the group if he was from Haiti, and the man said yes. The man, two women and two children entered the vehicle. The vehicle, driven by Alfred, then proceeded west towards the Cruz Bay area.
Three officers of Customs and Border Protection, who had been tipped off by the National Park Service, formed a roadblock in the area of Skinny Legs Restaurant to block the vehicle. Alfred failed to stop the vehicle at the roadblock, causing the three CBP officers to draw their weapons for fear of being run over. When the vehicle finally stopped, Delva jumped out and ran away.
Alfred and Delva face a maximum penalty of five years in prison for transporting illegal aliens, and Alfred faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison for his conviction of assault with a deadly weapon on a federal officer. Alfred also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 and a special assessment of $125. Delva faces a maximum fine of $250,000 and a special assessment of $100.
Sharpe commended the efforts of Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, and the National Park Service, which investigated the case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ishmael A. Meyers Jr.