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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
11/03/2008

Illegal alien sentenced to 5 years for alien smuggling

He beat another man with a closet rod and his fists after he attempted escape

HOUSTON - An illegal alien from Mexico was sentenced here Friday to 63 months in prison for conspiring to harbor and transport illegal aliens within the United States for financial gain. This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agents.

Cesar Garcia-Saucedo, 22, was indicted along with Ervin Gomez-Lopez, Rolando Arnoldo Ayala-Cedillos and Andres Fernando Alvarado with conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens within the United States for financial gain. Garcia-Saucedo pleaded guilty to the offense, admitting his participation in the conspiracy which occurred in November 2007.

ICE agents received information in November 2007 from Harris County Constables regarding suspected smuggled aliens at an apartment in the 8500 block of Winkler Street in Houston. Agents were also advised that the suspected smugglers had guns. Accompanied by Houston Police officers, ICE agents visited the location and knocked at the door. As codefendant Andres Fernando Alvarado opened the door, agents observed several people begin to run away. One person, later identified as Garcia-Saucedo, attempted to flee through a rear bedroom window.

Officers ultimately secured the residence and discovered 16 illegal aliens inside. During a subsequent search, officers found a BB air rifle and two ledgers commonly used by alien smugglers. Interviews conducted with the aliens proved that all the defendants guarded the smuggled aliens to prevent their leaving, and some of the aliens had been threatened. Rolando Arnoldo Ayala-Cedillos was identified as the individual who made the calls to the smuggled aliens' family members to demand smuggling fees for their release. One illegal alien told agents he had been stripped, bound, kicked and beaten with fists and a closet rod after he attempted to escape from the residence. The alien identified Garcia-Saucedo was one of the smugglers who participated in the beating. Agents recovered the broken closet rod and rope identified as being used in the beating.

Co-conspirators Gomez-Lopez, Ayala-Cedillos and Alvarado were all sentenced July 28 to prison terms of 50 months each.

This case was investigated by ICE with assistance from the Houston PD and Harris County Constables. Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Davis, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.