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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

South Texas man sentenced to 6 years for having sex with a minor in Mexico

MCALLEN, Texas — A South Texas man was sentenced Thursday to serve the next six years in federal prison for engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country, 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), with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Carmen Alonzo, 58, of Progreso, Texas, was sentenced Oct. 11 to 72 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane. Judge Crane also heard arguments supporting sentencing enhancements.  He ultimately found that Alonzo had unduly influenced the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. Judge Crane further ordered Alonzo to serve three years of supervised release, after he completes his prison term, and he must register as a sex offender. Alonzo was also ordered to have no contact with the 14-year-old victim. Alonzo pleaded guilty to the charge Feb. 2.

"Exploiting children in any form is despicable, but sexual exploitation is particularly heinous," said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio. "HSI will go the extra mile to catch those individuals who prey on these innocent victims. Identifying and investigating those who victimize children is one of HSI's most important responsibilities. We are committed to hunting down these predators."

According to court documents, the case against Alonzo began in July 2011 when CBP encountered a minor female as she was headed southbound through the Progreso Port of Entry. HSI conducted an investigation and learned Alonzo, who had been employed by the company that owns the bridge at the Progreso Port of Entry, engaged in illicit sexual conduct with this minor while in Mexico. At the hearing in which he entered his plea, Alonzo admitted that from Jan. 1, 2010 through April 30, 2010, he traveled into Mexico to have sex with the minor.

Alonzo has been in custody since his arrest Aug. 4, 2011. He will be transferred to a U.S. Bureau of Prison facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Ann Leo and Kristen Rees, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.