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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
02/12/2010

Defendant in Hays Co. human smuggling case gets 20 year prison sentence

ICE is still looking for 3 fugitives connected to the case

AUSTIN, Texas - The last defendant in the 2008 Hays County human smuggling case was sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison for her role in a conspiracy to harbor aliens and transport aliens. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the investigation with the San Marcos Police Department.

Rosalinda Trevino, 34, of Staples, Texas, was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison. The other seven people involved in the criminal scheme were sentenced on Jan. 27. Those seven were sentenced for their participation in various criminal schemes related to human smuggling, hostage taking and money laundering.

U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel imposed the following sentences:

  • Argeo Salgado-Ortega, 31, citizen of Mexico, was sentenced to a 150-month term of imprisonment along with 120 months on the gun charge plus 30 months for bringing in and harboring aliens. He also received five year supervised release.
  • Saul Romero-Salgado, 44, citizen of Mexico, was sentenced to 144 months and three years supervised release. He was convicted of hostage taking and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime.
  • Julio Cesar Salgado-Ortega, 26, citizen of Mexico, was sentenced to 71 months and three years supervised release. He was convicted for harboring and transporting illegal aliens.
  • Fulgencio Loredo-Rubio, 41, citizen of Mexico, was sentenced to 63 months with three years of supervised release following his sentence. He was sentenced for conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Humberto Alcides Salgado-Ortega, aka Alejandro Ortega-Salgado, 28, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison with three years of supervised release. He was convicted of conspiracy to smuggle and harbor aliens.
  • Sandra Leija, 34, from Austin, Texas, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Luz Maria Garcia-Garza, 27, from Rio Grande City, Texas, was sentenced to 21 months for conspiracy and transporting illegal aliens. Garcia-Garza also received three years supervised release.

The following defendants were sentenced to five years probation for conspiracy to commit money laundering: Juanita Trevino, 54, of Staples, Texas; Concepcion Loredo, 25, of Austin, Texas; Marisavette Leija, 28, of Sugarland, Texas; and Wendy Nadine-Adame, 26, and Leticia Miranda, 37, both of San Marcos, Texas.

Randy Rene Contreras, 31, of Maxwell, Texas, received three years probation and a fine of $1,800 for money laundering. Mary Salinas, 62, of San Marcos, Texas, received five years probation for her role in harboring illegal aliens. Leslie Denise-Varga, 32, also from San Marcos, received three years probation for conspiracy to commit money laundering.

There are three remaining fugitives with outstanding criminal warrants: Mario Alberto-Salgado, Miriam Salgado and Luis Loredo-Rubio.

"This case exemplifies ICE's mission to combat smuggling and dismantle criminal organizations run by those who exploit our borders with little regard for human life," said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in San Antonio. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and use every resource available to make certain that violations of this sort result in the maximum prison term."

"The San Marcos Police Department is pleased to have been part of a team of law enforcement agencies from across Central Texas, including federal authorities, to break up a human trafficking ring," said San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams. "The successful prosecution of the members of this conspiracy is a demonstration of what we can accomplish when we cooperate to investigate serious criminal violations."

On July 16, 2008, federal and local authorities executed a search warrant at a mobile home in San Marcos leased by Rosalinda Trevino-Alvarez. They discovered about 25 illegal aliens from Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua who were being forcibly detained pending payment of smuggling fees by friends and family. According to the court document, the defendants conspired from January 2003 to July 2008 to cause or conduct wire transfers totaling about $1 million in derived proceeds from the illegal alien smuggling operation.

The following agencies are assisting ICE in the ongoing investigation: the FBI; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation; Hays County Sheriff's Office; and the San Marcos and Austin police departments.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Fernald and Anthony Brown, Western District of Texas, prosecuted the case.