A salute to the Coast Guard
From today's Miami Herald-
KEY WEST - A federal jury convicted a Cuban migrant Thursday of conspiring to smuggle other migrants to the United States, but acquitted him of the more serious charges involving the death of a woman during a high-seas chase.Mr. Gonzalez deserves his stint in a federal penn. There is good reason for smuggling to be a crime. The origin of the smuggling doesn't matter one bit.
If convicted of the more serious charges, Amil Gonzalez could have received life in prison.
The jury also found the 32-year-old jeweler from Santa Clara, Cuba, guilty of giving false information to law enforcement officials.
Federal prosecutors said Thursday they did not know if this was the first time a Cuban migrant trying to reach U.S. soil for freedom had been convicted of being a smuggler in the same trip.
Before the trial began, two U.S. residents pleaded guilty to their roles in the deadly smuggling sea trip, in which 34 people were crammed into a go-fast boat made for nine.
Anay Machado, 24, one of the migrants the boat picked up off the Cuban coast on July 8, sustained fatal head injuries during a 30-minute, high-speed race in choppy waters. The boat was trying to outrun the Coast Guard to the Keys.
Unless a change in Cuba occurs, Gonzalez is unlikely to face deportation when his sentenced is finished. Read this post of mine to see one of the many quirks of US-Cuba relations.
The government's main evidence against Gonzalez was a video showing him standing at the center console of the boat with the two convicted smugglers and appearing to gesture toward another migrant. The government said Gonzalez was directing the man to act as a human shield in front of the engines, which a Coast Guard gunner ultimately disabled with two shots.Mr. Gonzalez even knows that very American gesture. While the salute is colorful, I don't think it had much to do with Mr. Gonzalez' conviction. After all its a regular occurence on the highways of South Florida and needs no translation from English to Spanish or vice versa.
Gonzalez also gave authorities a false name -- that of his identical twin brother living in Miami -- and two false addresses, the same addresses used by convicted smuggler Rolando Gonzalez.
He also gave the U.S. Coast Guard the finger.
Hat tip- Rick at SOTP
Linked to- Stuck on Stupid, Bright & Early,