Alien smuggling involves the unlawful transport of people into the United States. Often, for each person an individual charged with alien smuggling is found to have transported, the penalties increase. Both federal and Florida law include heavy fines and severe criminal penalties, including possible mandatory/minimum sentences of up to 25 years and maximum potential sentences of up to life. Mr. Petruzzi has represented numerous individuals charged with, or under investigation for, alien smuggling offenses by both federal and state authorities. His experience and knowledge serve as an invaluable asset to his clients.
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Federal alien smuggling offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various agencies, including the FBI, ICE, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Some common federal statutes criminalizing alien smuggling include:
8 USC Sec. 1324 –
(a) Criminal penalties
(1) (A) Any person who –
(i) knowing that a person is an alien, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action that may be taken with respect to such alien;
(ii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;
(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;
(iv) encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law; or
(v) (I) engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or (II) aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts, shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B).
(B) A person who violates subparagraph (A) shall, for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs –
(i) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i) or (v)(I) or in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), or (iv) in which the offense was done for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both;
(ii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v)(II), be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than five years, or both;
(iii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) during and in relation to which the person causes serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18) to, or places in jeopardy the life of, any person, be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and
(iv) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) resulting in the death of any person, be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined under title 18, or both.
Florida alien smuggling offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various state and local law enforcement agencies. Some common Florida statutes criminalizing alien smuggling include:
787.07 Human smuggling —
(1) A person who transports into this state an individual whom the person knows, or should know, is illegally entering the United States from another country commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(2) A person commits a separate offense for each individual he or she transports into this state in violation of this section.
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