Wednesday, April 16 – As a result of a joint investigation between the RST in Dutch St Maarten, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Major Crime Team and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Dieuseul Mompremier, 44, and Lamorthe Delva, 45, both Haitian nationals, were arrested last Friday [11th April 2014] on St. Thomas after a federal grand jury returned a 10-count indictment charging them with conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced last Monday [14th April 2014]
After their arrest, Mompremier and Delva made their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller, who ordered Delva held without bail pending trial, and continued Mompremier’s detention hearing to Thursday, April 17.
According to the indictment, in December 2010, Mompremier, Delva and Roro Edourre, 46, conspired with each other and additional co-conspirators to smuggle illegal aliens into St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. On December 5, 2010, Edourre was the captain on the vessel “Jesus La,” with approximately 33 passengers, most of them Haitian nationals, including men, women and children, when the vessel traveled from St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, to the U.S. Virgin Islands. While Edourre was transporting the illegal aliens on the vessel, Mompremier and Delva waited in the U.S. Virgin Islands and communicated with their co-conspirators by telephone.
The U.S. Coast Guard spotted the vessel carrying Edourre and his passengers, and Edourre attempted to evade the Coast Guard. While attempting to evade the Coast Guard, the “Jesus La” ran aground and sank, resulting in the death of at least eight individuals, including four children.
In addition to conspiracy to smuggle aliens, Mompremier, Delva and Edourre are charged with unlawfully attempting to bring aliens into the United States. Mompremier also is charged with transportation of an alien within the United States on or about December 28, 2011.
Edourre also was prosecuted for manslaughter in the British Virgin Islands, where he is currently serving his sentence.
The 10-count indictment is the result of months of investigative work by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
United States Attorney Sharpe reminds the public that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Detective Superintendent Alexis Charles, Head of the RVIPF Crime Division said
‘’After the tragic incident on Sunday 5th December 2010 where at least 8 people died, we set about bringing not just the crew but the organisers to justice. In January 2011 we hosted a meeting with our law enforcement colleagues from the Dutch St Maarten and US Virgin Islands. We agreed to work together and share both evidence and witnesses. Since that time our Major Crime Team detectives have worked with their counterparts in the other jurisdictions. As a result of that collaboration, there has been a successful prosecution both in St Maarten and here in the BVI’’
In the British Virgin Islands the boat captain, Roro Edourre, 44 and first mate Renold Plaisimond, 62, were jointly charged with eight counts of manslaughter and one count of smuggling migrants.
On Friday, November 9, 2012 Justice Albert Redhead sentenced Edourre to ten years imprisonment for each count of manslaughter and four years imprisonment for human smuggling, while Plaisimond was sentenced to six years imprisonment on each count of manslaughter and four years for human smuggling. The sentences for both men, who were convicted by a unanimous verdict on November 5, will run concurrently.
Detective Superintendent Charles added ‘’Human smuggling is a heinous crime and we will continue to work in partnership with our international colleagues to bring offenders to justice’’