(WTNH) – An East Hartford man was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly attempting to smuggle an individual from Brazil into the United States.
The District of Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office charged 41-year-old Fagner Chaves De Lima of East Hartford with one count of attempted human smuggling. It is allegedly that De Lima allegedly made arrangements for victims to travel from Brazil to the United States for a steep price. He would then extort the victims and their families for more money.
“What Fagner Chaves De Lima is accused of doing is disgraceful. In attempting to smuggle human beings into the United States for his own financial profit and then allegedly extorting them for more money, under the fear of harm, he has demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the safety of their lives, and our country’s laws that are in place to ensure the public’s safety,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “It’s important for anyone who is a victim of human smuggling to know that we prioritize the safety of victims when working with our law enforcement partners to bring international human smugglers to justice.”
According to documents, De Lima ran a business that illegally smuggled individuals from Brazil to the United States in exchange for thousands of dollars.
In May and June of 2022, undercover communication with De Lima was made over WhatsApp. De Lima was asked to have the person’s sister and niece smuggled into the United States and the undercover agent offered to pay $15,000 for De Lima’s services.
The District of Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement, “According to the charging documents, De Lima stated during these communications (translated from Portuguese) that he had been engaged in human smuggling ‘for 20 years,” and that he will smuggle individuals “whether you have a visa, no visa, or if . . .[they] are wanted by the police.’ De Lima also allegedly acknowledged in later messages that human smuggling is ‘dangerous.’”
On June 16, De Lima traveled to Worcester to meet with the undercover agent when he allegedly accepted two checks in exchange for his smuggling services.
The charge of attempted human smuggling provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.