An employee of the Dominican consulate was sentenced in a Manhattan federal court to 20 months in prison today for smuggling into the country Dominicans who posed as members of his family. While working as a clerk at the consulate, between October 2007 and July 2008, Francisco Estevez made an average of two trips per month to the Dominican Republic to recruit people who paid him $10,000 to be smuggled into New York. In less than a year, he brought in 25 people, using fake passports and A-2 visas.
Because he had a diplomatic visa, Estevez and his family were able to travel in and out of the U.S. as often as they liked. They also bypassed security procedures – like having digital fingerprints taken and their photographs collected.
One one occasion, Estevez gave a woman his daughter’s passport and accompanied her from the airport in Santo Domingo to Newark-Liberty International Airport, where she was picked up by family members and taken to the Bronx , prosecutors said.
It’s not known whether the people Estevez smuggled are still living the country, or how immigration officials were tipped off to the scheme.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 23, 2009