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Renan Portela Bandeira De Souza, 32, a Brazilian citizen living in Toronto, Canada, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to bringing aliens to the United States for commercial advantage or private financial gain. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison, a maximum of 10 years, and a $250,000 fine.
Prior to April 28, 2019, the defendant agreed to help smuggle an illegal alien from Canada into the United States in exchange for $6,000. On April 28, 2019, while in Ontario, Canada, the defendant and two co-conspirators launched a boat into the Niagara River. The defendant and another co-conspirator rode in the boat with four aliens, none of whom had received prior approval to enter, come to, or reside in the United States. The boat landed on Grand Island, NY, and the four passengers disembarked.
The plea is the result of an investigation by U.S. Border Patrol, under the direction of Patrol Agent-in-Charge Eduardo Payan; Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy.
Sentencing is scheduled for October 26, 2020, before Judge Arcara.