Gulfport, Miss. – Carlos Manuel Legra-Ramirez, age 43, a citizen of Cuba and a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States living in Georgia, pled guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens within the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Jere T. Miles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, and Joseph A. Banco Jr., Acting Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.
Legra-Ramirez is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ozerden on September 7, 2018. Legra-Ramirez faces a potential maximum 10 years imprisonment, not more than 3 years supervised release, a maximum $250,000 fine, and special assessments that could total $5,100. He also will be subject to immigration removal proceedings.
On February 6, 2018, on Interstate 10 east bound in Harrison County, the United States Border Patrol conducted a traffic stop on a Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), displaying a Georgia license plate registered to Legra-Ramirez. The SUV contained 10 illegal aliens, for a total of eleven occupants (including the driver) even though the Toyota Highlander SUV had seatbelts to lawfully seat only seven occupants.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials positively identified four of the passengers as aliens who had been previously deported or removed and who had unlawfully returned to the United States. Each of those four passengers were prosecuted for the felony offense of violating Title 8 U.S.C., Section 1326(a)(2), Unlawful Re-Entry into the United States by a Removed Alien. Each of the four passengers pled guilty to that offense and were convicted.
Further investigation also revealed that on August 27 2013, a vehicle registered to Legra-Ramirez was stopped in Mobile, Alabama. The vehicle was driven by a different Cuban national, who said he had recently purchased the vehicle, and admitted to smuggling the 9 illegal aliens who were passengers in his vehicle. Additionally, on August 31, 2013, Legra-Ramirez had been stopped on I-10 east bound near Lake City, Florida, driving a vehicle with 6 illegal alien passengers.
U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the cooperation exhibited by the Department of Homeland
Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Border Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of Mississippi