Ashemba Frett, 22, of Tortola, BVI, pleaded guilty Thursday in District Court to encouraging and inducing aliens to illegally enter the United States, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
According to the plea agreement, the U.S. Coast Guard conducted a safety stop on a vessel in Jersey Bay, St. Thomas. The vessel was operated by an unidentified individual; the Coast Guard saw Frett jump into the water and retrieved him; a Haitian national and a national from the Dominican Republic were aboard the vessel.
Frett admitted that the Dominican Republic national paid him $700 to travel to St. Thomas from Tortola and that Frett knew that he did not possess proper documents to lawfully enter the United States.
Frett faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has been set for July 7.
District Judge Curtis V. Gomez continued Frett on pre-trial release pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by the USSG, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sigrid M. Tejo-Sprotte.