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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Employer pleads guilty to harboring illegal alien who killed Houston PD officer

HOUSTON - The employer of an illegal alien convicted of capital murder for the shooting death of Houston Police Department (HPD) Officer Rodney Johnson pleaded guilty on Monday to harboring that same illegal alien following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations in Houston and the HPD.

Robert Lane Camp, 47, the owner of Camp Landscaping in Deer Park, Texas, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore. Camp was initially charged by criminal complaint in January 2008 with encouraging Juan Leonardo Quintero-Perez to unlawfully enter the United States and with harboring him.

Quintero-Perez was convicted by the State of Texas of the capital murder of HPD Officer Rodney Johnson. In September 2006, HPD Officer Johnson pulled over Quintero-Perez while he was driving one of Camp's work vehicles. Quintero-Perez was subsequently arrested for failing to provide a driver's license, handcuffed and placed into the HPD patrol car. Quintero-Perez shot and killed Johnson from the back seat of the patrol car with a gun he had hidden. He is currently serving a life sentence.

According to court documents, Camp helped Quintero-Perez remain in the United States despite the fact that he was charged in 1998 with the state felony offense of indecency with a child. When Quintero-Perez was arrested in 1998, he identified Camp as his employer and Camp posted a $10,000 bond on Quintero-Perez's behalf. Quintero-Perez was convicted and sentenced to probation. Thereafter, he was deported by federal authorities, but illegally reentered the United States in 1999. After Quintero unlawfully returned to the United States, Camp provided him with a job and residence.

ICE Special Agent in Charge Robert Rutt said, "ICE, using our law enforcement authorities and working with the U.S. Attorney's Office, was able to bring this employer to justice. "This tragedy illustrates that hiring illegal aliens is not a victimless crime. "Too often those in the U.S. illegally are desperate to avoid law enforcement and take desperate actions which can turn tragic."

Camp faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing on Feb 1. He has been permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jay Hileman and Ryan D. McConnell are prosecuting this case.