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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
08/06/2008

6 indicted by federal grand jury for San Marcos-based alien smuggling ring

SAN MARCOS, Texas - Six people were indicted Wednesday for their roles in an alien smuggling operation that was uncovered here last month. U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, Western District of Texas, made the announcement about the indictment; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is conducting the ongoing investigation.

The eight-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Austin charges six people with alien smuggling. Rosalinda Trevino-Alvarez, Luz Maria Garcia-Garza, Julio Cesar Salgado-Ortega, Alejandro Guzman-Ortega, Argeo Salgado-Ortega and Saul Romero-Salgado are charged with one count each of conspiracy to smuggle, transport and harbor illegal aliens, hostage taking, forced labor and conspiracy to use or possess a firearm during a crime of violence. In addition, Rosalinda Trevino, Luz Garcia, Julio Salgado and Alejandro Guzman are charged with a substantive count of alien harboring. Rosalinda Trevino, Argeo Salgado and Saul Romero all face at least one substantive charge of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.

"Today's indictment is a first step in disrupting a substantial human trafficking and smuggling operation based in San Marcos," stated U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. "These organizations often operate in the shadows and can be tough to break but the government believes this one was significant."

Federal and local authorities executed a search warrant at the residence of Rosalinda Trevino-Alvarez July 16. There they discovered 25 illegal aliens from Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua being forcibly detained pending payment of smuggling fees by their family and friends.

Upon conviction of all charges, the defendants could face up to life in federal prison.

The ICE Austin Office, along with the following agencies conducted the investigation: the FBI, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along, and police departments from San Marcos and Austin.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gerald C. Carruth for the Government.

An indictment is merely an accusation and not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.