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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
08/06/2012

Houston man pleads guilty to alien smuggling

Accident resulted in the death of 1 illegal alien

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Houston man pleaded guilty Monday to unlawfully transporting 14 illegal aliens within the United States and causing one person's death. This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, from the Southern District of Texas.

Leonel Alvaro Abundis-Carreon, 22, who was smuggling illegal aliens in a pickup truck, crashed his truck when fleeing from law enforcement, resulting in the death of one person and to others being seriously injured.

This investigation was conducted by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Border Patrol.

Abundis-Carreon entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzalez-Ramos, who scheduled sentencing for Oct. 30. Abundis-Carreon faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine. He has been in custody since his arrest, where he will remain pending that hearing.

Early in the morning of Feb. 9, Border Patrol agents in Falfurrias, Texas, were advised to be on the lookout for a white Ford F-250 pickup truck that was possibly involved in alien smuggling. Moments later, agents saw a white Chevrolet pickup truck traveling north in Brooks County, Texas.

Several people were observed in the cab, with several more ducking down in the bed of the truck. When Border Patrol agents began following the truck, the driver sped off. The Border Patrol agents activated their emergency lights and siren, but the truck continued speeding north on FM 1538. After the road merged into County Road 417, the driver turned off the truck's headlights and drove straight through a fence onto a privately owned ranch. Agents followed the truck's dust cloud and found the vehicle facing south - on the opposite side of the fence line.

Several injured individuals and one deceased person were located near the scene of the crash.

Abundis-Carreon admitted to HSI agents that he was the driver of the truck and that he was being paid $125 for each alien being smuggled.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.