YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Federal agents last night arrested a Massachusetts supermarket owner as he got off a flight at Newark Airport from Panama with three Dominicans he’d supplied with bogus passports, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said this afternoon.
Fernando Ramirez, 37, is free on $150,000 bond on a federal complaint of alien smuggling for financial gain following an appearance in U.S. District Court in Newark this afternoon.
Records kept by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showed that Ramirez had booked the flights for his traveling companions, and that all three were traveling with fraudulent Spanish passports when they arrived on the Continental Airlines flight, Fishman said.
Agents who interviewed them “discovered that one of the Dominican citizens had agreed to pay Ramirez between $12,000 and $15,000 for bringing her into the U.S. illegally, and the other two, a man and a woman, had agreed to work in Ramirez’ supermarket as payment for his illegal assistance. Ramirez allegedly had provided all three with fraudulent passports,” Fishman said in a release.
A complaint filed in U.S. District Court today says that Ramirez admitted to smuggling in the trio for money from the one and the promise of a year’s work from the others at his Holyoke, MA supermarket.
He credited the alert CBP agents with making the case, which will be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Fabiana Pierre-Louis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
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