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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
10/24/2008

Two Guatemalan nationals charged with alien smuggling

BOSTON, MA - Two men from Guatemala were arrested on October 22, 2008 in Miami, Florida on criminal complaints filed in Massachusetts. Both men are charged with conspiracy to commit alien smuggling.

United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office of investigations in Boston, announced today that Mario Rene Santandrea-Giron, age 58, of Guatemala and Jonas David Santandrea-Juarez, age 37, were each charged in a one count criminal complaint with conspiring to encourage or induce aliens to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry into, or residence in the United States is or will be a violation of the law.

The supporting affidavit alleges that Santandrea-Giron was identified as an alien smuggler from Guatemala. It is alleged that a number of telephone contacts between Santandrea-Giron and a cooperating witness, another putative alien smuggler, led to a series of personal meetings in El Salvador with the cooperating witness. According to the affidavit, Santandrea-Giron and Santandrea-Juarez identified individuals from Guatemala and sent their passports to Boston so that arrangements could be made to smuggle them, by flying the aliens on commercial airline flights from San Salvador to the United States.

It is alleged that Santandrea-Giron and Santandrea-Juarez also attended separate meetings with the cooperating witness in El Salvador. The Guatemalan nationals to be smuggled were also, at times, present for or during these meetings.

According to the affidavit, at several of these meetings, the payment of fees related to smuggling were discussed and smuggling fees negotiated. It is alleged that shortly after these meetings, the Guatemalan nationals, whose passports had previously been provided by Santandrea-Giron or Santandrea-Juarez, flew from El Salvador to the United States. It is alleged that Santandrea-Giron and Santandrea-Juarez, at certain meetings, handed additional passports of Guatemalan nationals to the cooperating witness as potential individuals to be smuggled in the future.

Santandrea-Giron and Santandrea-Juarez were arrested in Miami, Florida on October 22, 2008 after flying from El Salvador with two Guatemalan nationals who were purportedly being smuggled into the United States. Both men have appeared in federal court in Miami before Judge Barry L. Garber. Further proceedings are scheduled at the federal court in Miami on October 28, 2008.

If convicted on these charges, Santandrea-Giron and Santandrea-Juarez face a minimum of three years imprisonment with a maximum of up to ten years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $ 250,000 fine. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, office of investigations in Boston with the assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs, office of investigations in Miami, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, ICE attaches in El Salvador and Guatemala and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Brennan of Sullivan's Major Crimes Unit.

The details contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.