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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

2 Mexican citizens sentenced for transporting illegal aliens

Two men found dead in rolled over vehicle

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Two illegal alien men from Mexico were sentenced Thursday for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson announced the sentences; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the investigation.

Carlos Alberto Cabrera-Ruiz, 23, who was identified as a manager of the alien transporting organization, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $103,915.35 in restitution. Angel Miranda-Orosco, 25, was identified as a minor participant in the organization. She was sentenced to five years in federal prison, followed by five years supervised release.

Cabrera-Ruiz and Miranda-Orosco were indicted Jan. 14 by a Corpus Christi Grand Jury on a 14-count indictment charging them with one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, and 13 counts of transporting an illegal alien. Both defendants pleaded guilty on March 24 to the conspiracy charge.

The investigation conducted by ICE agents revealed that Cabrera and Ruiz were two guides in an alien smuggling case in which two smuggled aliens were killed and several others seriously injured on Dec. 29, 2008. On that date, a vehicle transporting 17 illegal aliens from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, failed to yield to law enforcement and was involved in a single vehicle accident near Mathis, Texas. Three injured men were found on the ground, and another man who had been killed in the crash was in the bed of the truck. With the assistance of other law enforcement agencies, officers were able to locate 12 other individuals hiding in the brush, including the defendants.

Later that day, two ranchers located the body of another man who had died, and officers located items around the body that appeared to have been ejected from the bed of the pick-up truck. Material witnesses identified the two defendants as brush guides, but were unable to identify the driver. The smuggled aliens were charged fees ranging from $1,600 to $5,000.

Cabrera-Ruiz and Miranda-Orosco have been held in custody since their arrest.

ICE conducted the investigation, in coordination with the U.S. Border Patrol and the San Patricio County Sheriff's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Patterson, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.