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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
12/04/2017

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6 plead guilty in South Texas to conspiracy to transporting illegal aliens

Smugglers used modified false compartments to hide smuggled aliens

MCALLEN, Texas — Six Texas residents pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Guillermo Garcia to a human smuggling operation.

These guilty pleas were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, Southern District of Texas. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  

On Dec. 4, the following defendants pleaded guilty to the smuggling charges: brothers Lucio Segundo, 31, and Christopher Segundo, 23, of Giddings, Texas. On Monday, four others entered their guilty pleas: Francisco Segura, 29, also of Giddings; Alex De La Rosa, 23, of San Marcos, Texas; Jesus Perez, 24, of La Grange; and David Cedillo, 46, of Austin.

During this conspiracy, the defendants at times smuggled illegal aliens in the trunks of rental vehicles. More often, however, the smuggled aliens were transported in trailers that had been specifically modified with false bottoms under vehicle floorboards. As many as a dozen illegal aliens could be transported at one time lying down in those false compartments. Construction materials were placed on the trailers to make it appear that the trailers were carrying legitimate loads.

Various drivers were recruited to transport these smuggled aliens northbound from Laredo through the CBP Border Patrol checkpoints between Nov. 1, 2015, and July 1, 2017.

All six defendants remain in custody pending their sentencing hearings, which will be set in the near future before U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bukiewicz and Alfredo De La Rosa, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/07/2017