Rescued jet skiers arrested for human smuggling

Mar 14, 2019

First responders had to rescue a jet skier, stuck in the ice near Beaver Island State Park Wednesday, but it wasn't a normal rescue.

U.S. Border Patrol agents say they saw three people on what appeared to be a stranded jet ski.

Two were able to walk about 50'-60' across the ice and reach the shoreline on Grand Island. The third was rescued and brought to shore by the Grand Island Fire Department using ropes and a small inflatable rescue craft, while Border Patrol Air and Marine Operations provided air support.

All three people were evaluated by paramedics on scene and then taken into custody. The case is being referred to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Border Control said an investigation revealed that the operator of the jet ski is a citizen of Brazil and resident of Canada. The other two people were citizens of Spain and Brazil, and are suspected of being illegally smuggled into the United States.

On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's office announced that the jet ski operator, Wanderson Dos Santos Freitas, had been charged with "bringing an alien to the United States for financial gain or commercial advantage." He is facing a mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison, a maximum of 10 years, and a $250,000 fine and is being held pending a detention hearing March 18.

It also released the names of the two passengers: Angelo Valentim-Zuccolotto, a citizen of Brazil, and Andria Raposo-Marte, a citizen of the Dominican Republic. They are both facing administrative proceedings.