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Federal Crimes: Charges of Alien Smuggling in Florida


Alien smuggling is a violation of the immigration laws of the United States and occurs when an individual knowingly:
  • encourages,
  • facilitates,
  • transports,
  • assists,
  • aids or
  • abets
an illegal alien to enter the United States. The Miami criminal attorneys at Donet, McMillan & Trontz, P.A. (DMT) have years of experience defending cases in federal court regarding immigration law violations. Over the past decade, alien smuggling has become big business and has seen a steady rise over the past couple of decades. Alien smuggling is different from human trafficking, in that, the former is consensual between both parties. Human trafficking involves the transportation from one location to another against their will or by some other means of deception. Smugglers can be classified as small-scale or large-scale. Small-scale smugglers operate every aspect of their operation themselves while large-scale smugglers operate as a network with a division of work between the actors involved in the ring.


The current political climate has caused federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to crack down on alien smuggling occurring in such states as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. Other law enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol, the FBI and local law enforcement also investigate cases of alien smuggling. Individuals charged with alien smuggling potentially face a five year mandatory minimum sentence in a federal prison and can be sentenced to 10 years for each charge of smuggling. Anyone being investigated for or having been indicted for alien smuggling should contact a federal criminal defense lawyer immediately. A qualified and experienced attorney can use their experience to convince a prosecutor to charge a person with an illegal entry into the United States rather than alien smuggling. The potential penalties are vastly different with the former charge allowing for a far better outcome in the case.

Alien smuggling has become a great concern for the federal government because of the great risk and potential harm that many suffer from being involved in smuggling. Unsafe conditions, physical and sexual abuse are commonplace in the alien smuggling business. Others that seek to be smuggled in are sometimes forced into committing criminal acts such as drug trafficking, while some are forced into slavery-like conditions until their debts are paid off to the individuals that smuggled them into the country. The federal government is actively pursuing individuals involved in alien smuggling. The authorities are also investigating and prosecuting businesses that hire illegal aliens. Business owners that knew or should have known that they employed illegal aliens are subject to prosecution under federal immigration laws and can be sentenced to prison for egregious violations.


To speak with an experienced Miami federal criminal attorney at DMT about your alien smuggling case, or if you have questions regarding a matter involving a federal immigration law violation, please contact DMT to schedule a free consultation. You can call our office at (305) 340-2197 or reach us by completing the form on our contact page or by sending an e-mail.