(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Wanderson Dos Santos-Freitas, 35, a Brazilian citizen living in Toronto, Canada, who was convicted of alien smuggling, was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles M. Kruly, who handled the case, stated that on March 13, 2019, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a U.S. Border Patrol Agent spotted a black jet ski with three occupants, two males and one female, about 50-60 feet from the shoreline at Beaver Island State Park. When the occupants noticed the agent, the operator of the jet ski, the defendant, stepped into the water, and began to push the watercraft further away from the shoreline. Dos Santos-Freitas continued to stand up in an apparent attempt to restart the jet ski, but the jet ski began to release smoke from the exhaust. After a couple minutes, the defendant began to wave at the agent and related that the jet ski appeared to be stuck in the ice. Air and Marine Operations were alerted and responded to the scene.
A short time later, Dos Santos-Freitas got off the jet ski, abandoning his two passengers, and walked across the ice onto the shore. When asked by agents on shore for his citizenship, the defendant stated that he was a “permanent resident of Canada.” Dos Santos-Freitas also stated that he did not have any immigration documentation which would allow him to enter the United States legally. The defendant was then placed under arrest. The defendant’s passengers later told agents that they expected to pay the defendant after arriving at their final destinations in the United States.
The sentencing 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.