COSTA RICA NEWS – A Cuban woman, naturalized and resident of Costa Rica has pleaded guilty in the Miami to smuggling in more than 25 immigrants from Cuba to the U.S.
Mercedes Morera Roche, 49, was extradited to the United States from Panama on Aug. 21, 2014, to face charges for smuggling more than 25 undocumented immigrants from Cuba to the United States.
According to her plea agreement, Roche admitted that between 2004 and 2011, she was an organizer of a human smuggling network that provided instructions, fraudulent identity and travel documents, escorts, transport, safe house locations, and other assistance to facilitate the illicit travel of undocumented immigrants to the United States. Roche admitted that in some cases, she provided fraudulent passports so that undocumented immigrants could fly to the United States with the help of corrupt foreign airline and immigration officials. Roche directed the immigrants to destroy the fraudulent documents during the flights before landing at United States airports and instructed the immigrants about engaging with authorities at the airports. In other cases, Roche coordinated the smuggling of undocumented immigrants via land through Latin America and Mexico into the United States. Roche solicited payments of up to $10,000 for each undocumented immigrant.
Roche’s sentencing is scheduled on Dec. 11, 2014, before U.S. District Court Judge Ursula M. Ungaro of the Southern District of Florida.
Source: US Dept of Justice