Brazilian citizen convicted of alien smuggling sentenced to 21 months in prison

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–A Brazilian citizen living in Toronto, convicted of alien smuggling, was sentenced today to serve 21 months in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On March 13, 2019, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent spotted a black jet ski at 9 a.m. with three people on it, two men and a woman.

The agent says they were about 50-60 feet from the shoreline at Beaver Island State Park.

When the people on the jet ski noticed the agent, the operator of the jet ski, 35-year-old Wanderson Dos Santos-Freitas, stepped into the water and began to push it further away from the shoreline.

Dos Santos-Freitas continued to stand up in an apparent attempt to restart the jet ski. Officials say the jet ski began to smoke from the exhaust.

After a couple of minutes, Dos Santos-Freitas waived at the agent and said the jet ski appeared to be stuck in the ice.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Air and Marine Operations were alerted and responded to the scene.

A short time later, Dos Santos-Freitas got off the jet ski abandoning the two passengers and walked across the ice onto the shore.

He said he was a permanent resident of Canada when agents onshore asked for his citizenship.

Also, Dos Santos-Freitas said he had no immigration documentation allowing him to enter the United States legally.

He was then arrested, and agents say his passengers later told them they expected to pay Dos Santos-Freitas after arriving at their final destinations in the U.S.

Troy Licastro is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of his work here.

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