News Release
November 13, 2008
Contact: Special Agent Jeannette Moran
Number: 305-994-4837

Smuggler Sentenced to Multiple Life Sentences for Murder, Alien Smuggling and Narcotics Trafficking

NOV 13 -- Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Investigations, announced that Rickey Thompson was sentenced on November 12, 2008 to six life sentences, plus a consecutive 32-year term of imprisonment for his participation in alien smuggling and narcotics trafficking conspiracies that  resulted in the deaths of three aliens.

Thompson was convicted in July of three counts of second degree murder; three counts of alien smuggling resulting in death; fifteen counts of alien smuggling placing the lives of aliens in jeopardy; six counts of narcotics trafficking; two counts of possession of firearms, and one count of illegal re-entry after deportation.  Thompson’s six life sentences were for the second degree murder and alien smuggling resulting in death counts. The 32-year consecutive term of imprisonment was for using firearms during the commission of a crime of violence.   Thompson also received sentences of between five and twenty years on the remaining alien smuggling and narcotics trafficking counts. 

According to the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, Thompson and his co-defendant Leon Brice Johnson (who was previously sentenced to 22 years imprisonment), participated in two separate smuggling trips – one in August 2006 and a second in December 2006. During each trip, Thompson, the boat captain, and Johnson, the co-captain, transported a group of illegal aliens and narcotics from Freeport, Bahamas, to Jupiter Island, Florida, aboard Thompson’s 33 foot speed boat. The aliens paid Thompson fees ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 for the trip, and were assured that Thompson would drop them off on the beach or in water no higher than their knees. During each trip, Thompson drove the boat without navigational lights to avoid detection and made frequent stops whenever he believed he saw or heard a Coast Guard vessel. On each occasion, Thompson and Johnson ordered the aliens off the boat approximately 50 to 100 yards from the shoreline of Jupiter Island, in deep rough waters.  Each time, there were aliens aboard who could not swim and asked to remain on the boat.  Ignoring the pleas, Thompson and Johnson forced the aliens off the boat at gun point.  Two aliens drowned during the August trip and one during the December trip. The defendants also transported large quantities of narcotics, including 14 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of heroin and 83 pounds of marijuana during the two trips. 

Mr. Acosta commended the DEA, ICE, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Border Patrol, Jupiter Island Public Safety Department, and Tequesta Police Department for their investigation of this matter. 

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