A Connecticut man has been sentenced to over three years in prison for his involvement in a human smuggling conspiracy. Fagner Chaves De Lima, of East Hartford, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted human smuggling for illegally smuggling individuals from Brazil into the United States in exchange for money. De Lima and his conspirators made travel arrangements for clients to enter the U.S. by plane or bus and extorted additional money from them during their journey. He was sentenced to 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release. This case highlights the exploitation and dangers associated with human smuggling operations, and the commitment of law enforcement to hold those responsible accountable.
Connecticut Man Sentenced to Over Three Years in Prison for Human Smuggling Conspiracy
For Immediate Release
On Tuesday, August 15, 2023, a Connecticut man was sentenced to over three years in prison for his involvement in a human smuggling conspiracy. Fagner Chaves De Lima, a resident of East Hartford, Conn., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Margaret R. Guzman to 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release. De Lima had pleaded guilty in April 2023 to one count of attempted human smuggling.
Fagner Chaves De Lima conspired with others to illegally smuggle individuals from Brazil into the United States for financial gain. In exchange for payments amounting to thousands of dollars, De Lima and his co-conspirators made travel arrangements for their clients to enter the United States illegally by plane or bus. They also arranged lodging accommodations for their clients during their journey. Additionally, De Lima extorted money from clients during their travel, threatening harm to them or their families if they didn’t pay extra.
De Lima was sentenced to 41 months in prison and will be subject to three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. The sentencing was carried out by U.S. District Court Judge Margaret R. Guzman. The sentence reflects the serious nature of the crimes committed and sends a strong message that human smuggling will not be tolerated.
Conspiracy to Commit Human Smuggling
Fagner Chaves De Lima pleaded guilty to one count of attempted human smuggling as part of a larger conspiracy. He conspired with others to facilitate the illegal entry of individuals into the United States from Brazil. This action not only violated U.S. immigration laws but also put the lives of those being smuggled at risk.
Illegal Smuggling Operation
De Lima and his co-conspirators operated an illegal smuggling operation, assisting individuals in bypassing the legal immigration process. They made travel arrangements, provided false documents, and extorted money from their clients. This illegal operation endangered the lives of those being smuggled and undermined the integrity of the immigration system.
Undercover Agent’s Involvement
In May and June 2022, an undercover agent communicated with De Lima through the messaging app WhatsApp, posing as someone seeking to have family members smuggled into the United States. During these communications, De Lima admitted to being involved in human smuggling for “20 years” and expressed his willingness to smuggle individuals whether they had visas or were wanted by the police. This evidence played a crucial role in securing his guilty plea and subsequent conviction.
Exploitation of Vulnerable Individuals
Human smuggling operations like the one De Lima participated in exploit vulnerable individuals seeking a better life. These individuals are often desperate and willing to take significant risks to escape difficult circumstances in their home countries. By participating in such operations, De Lima and his co-conspirators further victimized these vulnerable individuals for their own financial gain.
Zero Tolerance for Human Smuggling Operations
The sentencing of Fagner Chaves De Lima to over three years in prison underscores the commitment of law enforcement agencies to combat human smuggling. Human smuggling operations pose a serious threat to national security and human rights. The Department of Justice, along with other agencies, will continue to take robust action against individuals involved in such illegal activities.
Assistance from Law Enforcement Agencies
The successful prosecution of Fagner Chaves De Lima’s case was made possible by the collaboration between several law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Yuma Field Office; Homeland Security Investigations in Yuma; U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; and the Marlborough, Worcester, Hartford (Conn.) and East Hartford (Conn.) Police Departments provided valuable assistance throughout the investigation. This coordinated effort demonstrates the effectiveness of joint law enforcement operations in combating human smuggling.
How to Report Human Smuggling
If you believe that you or someone you know may be a victim of human smuggling or trafficking, it is crucial to report it to the authorities. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline can be reached at 1-888-373-7888, or you can text 233733 to seek assistance. By reporting suspicious activities, you can contribute to efforts aimed at dismantling human smuggling networks and protecting vulnerable individuals.