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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
12/18/2012

6 sentenced for their roles in human smuggling organization

HOUSTON – Six people were sentenced Tuesday following their convictions in an illegal alien harboring/transportation conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The defendants sentenced Dec. 18 are: Christian Lara-Reyes, 29; Victor Lara Bravo, 52; and Jose Alfonso Hernandez, 30, all Mexican citizens; and Raquel Dainese Phillips, 23; Dale Franklin Jones, 51; and Clarence Leroy Teel, 53, all of Houston. All previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport and harbor illegal aliens within the United States.

U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller sentenced Lara-Reyes to 24 months in prison. Hernandez and Jones were ordered to serve 11 and four months, respectively. Bravo and Teel were each ordered to serve 12 months in federal prison. Phillips was sentenced to probation and will serve two years on home confinement. Jones and Teel will serve two and three-year-terms of supervised release, respectively, following completion of their prison terms. Lara-Reyes, Bravo and Hernandez are expected to face deportation proceedings upon their release from prison.

The case against these six began after HSI special agents obtained information during the investigation of an alien smuggling operation in the Corpus Christi area headed by Armando Olmedo-Trevino, 47, of Wharton, Texas. Lara-Reyes admitted he transported undocumented aliens from south Texas to the Houston area in order to further facilitate the aliens' movement into the United States at the request of Olmedo-Trevino. Lara-Reyes transported and harbored the undocumented aliens with the assistance of Bravo and Hernandez. Bravo and Hernandez watched over the aliens until smuggling fees were paid by the aliens' friends and family members.

Teel recruited and provided drivers to transport undocumented aliens on behalf of the alien smuggling organization. Teel admitted he began smuggling illegal aliens in 2008 and eventually graduated to recruiting drivers for the alien smuggling organization.

Additional evidence revealed that on multiple occasions, Phillips and Jones transported undocumented aliens for the alien smuggling organization. Phillips informed HSI special agents she was recruited to transport illegal aliens by Jeffery Mark Williams, 55, of Sugar Land, Texas.

On Sept. 7, Williams entered a guilty plea to conspiring to transport and harbor illegal aliens. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 15, 2013, at which time he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

The case against Olmedo-Trevino was prosecuted in the Corpus Christi Division by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chad Cowan and Jeffrey Preston, Southern District of Texas. He received the statutory maximum of 120 months in prison.

The Houston case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Menes and former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimani Eason, Southern District of Texas.