An East Naples constitution captain who was caught in March with 10 undocumented immigrants under the deck of his boat within the Florida Keys was sentenced to 6 years in federal jail Wednesday.
U.S. District Courtroom James Lawrence King sentenced Richard Karl Mork, sixty five, to seventy two months in jail adopted by three years probation throughout a sentencing listening to in Miami federal courtroom.
Beneath federal sentencing tips Mork might have confronted between ninety seven to one hundred twenty months in jail, stated Sherry Rydberg, a authorized assistant for Doug Molloy, Mork’s lawyer.
“We have been capable of argue it right down to seventy two,” she stated.
Mork — who has addresses listed for Palm Drive and Apple Tree Lane in East Naples — pleaded guilty in late June to four charges of encouraging and aiding aliens to enter the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents arrested Mork after they said they came across his 33-foot center-console boat, “Scout,” while on patrol about 3 p.m. March 12 in Tavernier Creek in the Upper Keys.
The federal agents said they then saw two personal watercraft approach the disabled boat, each with two cans of gasoline.
When agents boarded Mork’s boat, they found 10 passengers — five each from Jamaica and Haiti — below deck, court documents state. Authorities also found a fully loaded 9 mm firearm and $20,000 in cash on board, court documents show.
One of the undocumented immigrants told investigators that he paid $5,000 to “an intermediary for passage to the United States,” according to court documents.
One of Mork’s passengers, O’Neil Anthony Harris of Jamaica, had been deported from the U.S. in September 2016 after he was convicted of possession and intent to sell marijuana in Illinois, court records state.
Mork told investigators he left Bimini, Bahamas, with the intention of bringing the 10 immigrants to the U.S. He said he knew they were undocumented, court documents state.
Mork told authorities he ran out of fuel and asked the people on the personal watercraft for help.
Mork most recently ran Blueocean Expeditions Inc., according to the Florida Department of State’s online business entity index. The company’s website is no longer active, but a Facebook page describes it as an eco-tour agency and scuba diving centerbased in Fort Lauderdale.
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