Costa Rica woman pleads guilty in US to masterminding human smuggling ring
A Costa Rican woman, Mercedes Morera Roche, 49, pleaded guilty Monday in the United States to charges of conspiring to smuggle more than 25 undocumented immigrants into the U.S. from Cuba. Roche was extradited to the U.S. from Panama on Aug. 21, 2014 to face the charges, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
In her plea agreement, delivered to a court in the state of Florida, Roche admitted to organizing a human smuggling network between 2004 and 2011 designed to move migrants into the U.S. Her organization provided instructions, fake passports, travel documents, transportation and safe houses for migrants who paid up to $10,000 each to sneak into the U.S.
The Costa Rican smuggler allegedly relied on corrupt immigration officials and airline employees to get migrants on flights to the U.S. Once on board, the migrants were told to destroy their fraudulent documents and were given instructions on how to handle immigration and customs once in U.S. territory. In other instances, Roche also coordinated land crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.
Roche’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 11, 2014, before U.S. District Court Judge Ursula M. Ungaro of the Southern District of Florida.
You may be interested
Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Wednesday, September 23Alejandro Zúñiga - September 23, 2020
Costa Rica announced 21 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 781, according to official data…
Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa named as World Surfing ReserveAlejandro Zúñiga - September 23, 2020
Save The Waves Coalition has named Playa Hermosa in Garabito, Puntarenas as a World Surfing Reserve (WSR), the non-profit announced…
Costa Rican Presidency makes its case for IMF loanAlejandro Zúñiga - September 23, 2020
The Costa Rican Presidency hopes to generate internal support before its planned negotiations for $1.75 billion from the International Monetary Fund…