Avila and her son, 15, tried to enter the country using Panamanian passports with correct pictures, but different names
Deysi Reyes Avila, 53, a Cuban mathematics teacher, was charged with using a passport that wasn’t hers and allowing her son to use a passport that wasn’t his, when she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano this evening.
Immigration prosecutor Albert Munnings told the court that at 5:00 yesterday evening, Avila and her son arrived on the Avianca flight 414 at the Philip Goldson International Airport from San Salvador, El Salvador.
While Avila was in the line at the immigration desk, an immigration officer noticed that she was acting suspiciously, and when she arrived at the desk, another officer observed inaccuracies in the port of entry forms that she filled out.
Avila and her son were thus asked to join the officers inside their office at the airport, where she was interviewed. As she was being interviewed, she introduced herself as Nairoby Aleyda Gonzalez, and her son as Ricardo Gonzalez and showed the officers their Panamanian passports, which had the appearance of authentically and lawfully issued documents.
But officers had difficulty believing Avila, since the forms that she filled out listed their permanent residence as Havana, Cuba, but their country of residence as Panama. Also, although Gonzalez was the surname that was written in the name section of the forms, the signature on the forms had “D. Reyes”.
The officers then searched their luggage, and inside Avila’s luggage, they found two Cuban passports which carried their photos, but which listed their surname as Reyes. Cuban identification forms for both Avila and her son were also found inside her luggage.
An inspection of the passports revealed that Avila’s passport was issued on July 13, 2011, and her son’s on January 13, 2013. Avila’s identification card was issued on January 10, 2010; the minor’s on March 21, 2013.
After she was confronted with the passports and identification cards, Avila confessed to the officers that she had paid $3,000 US for the two Panamanian passports.
After pleading guilty in court, Avila told the court that she was just trying to get to the United States in order to see her other two children and grandchildren. She said that her children could not visit her in Cuba because they had gone to the US illegally.
Then she asked the court to believe her when she said that “I am not chasing the American dream…I love my country”.
Magistrate Cayetano then imposed a fine of $1,000 for the first offense, with a six-month prison sentence if it wasn’t paid forthwith. Another $1,000 fine was imposed for the second offense, and if that wasn’t paid immediately, she would have to spend another six months in prison.
However, those two six-month sentences would be spent consecutively, meaning she would spend a total of one year in prison.
At last report, Avila has paid the fines, and reportedly will be put on a flight back to Cuba on Friday.