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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

2 suspected alien smugglers arrested in south Texas following death of smuggled woman

A woman died after falling from moving tractor trailer

LAREDO, Texas – Two men – a Mexican national and a Laredo citizen – were arrested Wednesday on state charges of felony murder, human smuggling, and engaging in organized criminal activity.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Webb County District Attorney's Office (DA), Laredo Police Department, and Kyle Police Department.

Cresenzo Mario Espino, 32, from Mexico, and Jose Ricardo Perez-Solis, 22, from Laredo, were arrested in the Laredo area without incident. They were formerly charged April 11 in state court.

According to court documents, on Jan. 20, 2012, a group of illegal aliens were hiding inside an air dam compartment of a tractor when one of the females fell from the moving vehicle that was traveling on Interstate Highway 35 in Kyle, Texas. The woman died from her injuries and was identified as Patricia Castaneda-Lozano, 25, of northern Mexico. This investigation revealed that Espino and Perez-Solis were operating an alien smuggling ring in Laredo using local truck stops to move their human cargo farther north. At the truck stops, the duo instructed the smuggled aliens to hide inside the air dam compartment which is located on top of a tractor trailer cab.

On April 3, the DA's office indicted four suspects involved in this case. The following two of these four are now in prison convicted on unrelated charges: Blanca Esthela Martinez, 49, and Juan Camacho-Olvera, 39, both from Mexico.

Webb County DA's office, Laredo, Texas, is prosecuting this case.