David Britto's Mother Takes a Plea Deal, Will Likely Avoid Prison Time
|David Britto, a federal fugitive who's free to sip margaritas on the beaches of Brazil due to his citizenship.|
Vieira, 51, aided her son's escape to Brazil and was arrested in September on charges of contempt of court -- which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison -- as well as conspiracy to fail to appear before the court and making a false statement, which each carry maximum sentences of five years in prison.
Instead, she's pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, although details of the plea agreement show some major leniency from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
According to the plea deal, prosecutors recommend that the court reduce the sentencing guidelines for the conspiracy charge by two levels, due to Vieira's "recognition and affirmative and timely acceptance of personal responsibility."
Prosecutors say they "also recommend a sentence at the low end of the applicable guidelines."
Vieira has been ordered to report to a federal probation office for a screening, and the department will then provide the court with a sentencing recommendation.
Given the nature of the plea agreement, as well as the fact that it's the first crime Vieira's been charged with, the signs point toward probation.
But let's recount the events leading up to her arrest:
Britto was on federal probation while he was awaiting trial when he took a flight from Miami to Brasilia, Brazil, on August 24, with a one-way ticket purchased by Vieria the day before at a Pompano Beach travel agency, court documents say.
Not only did Vieira buy the plane ticket in Britto's name but the feds say she told Drug Enforcement Administration the next day that she did not help Britto in obtaining or purchasing the plane ticket to Brazil.
Britto, as you may remember, also faces life in prison after being arrested in July for conspiring to possess more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
According to Vieira's arrest warrant, a DEA agent states that Britto's ankle monitor had signaled a "tamper alert" after he cut it off on August 24 -- the same day Britto boarded that flight to Brazil -- but the U.S. Probation Office did not notify the DEA until the next day.
The agent writes that the DEA was notified by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement "later that afternoon" of August 25 that Britto was scheduled to board a one-way flight from Miami to Brasilia, Brazil, on a TAM Airlines flight.
That day, DEA agents went to the travel agency in Pompano Beach -- Chang Express Travel -- where they found that Vieira had paid cash for Britto's ticket, which was verified from audio/video security footage.
On September 2, federal agents managed to capture Vieira trying to leave the country from JFK International Airport in New York to San Paulo, Brazil.
Her sentencing is scheduled for November 21.
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