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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

7 south Texas smugglers sentenced to federal prison terms

MCALLEN, Texas — Seven south Texas human smugglers were sentenced in federal court Wednesday to prison terms following their convictions for harboring illegal aliens and for bringing them into the United States.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Border Patrol.

The following defendants were sentenced:

  • Roberto Almazan-Rodriguez, to 63 months imprisonment;
  • Rigoberto Olemedo-Portillo, 57 months' imprisonment;
  • Guillermo Cortez-Hernandez, 42 months' imprisonment;
  • Marta Maria de Jesus Aguilar-Dominguez, 33 months' imprisonment;
  • Juan David Aguilar-Dominguez, 30 months' imprisonment;
  • Fanny Jaqueline Rios-Aguilar, 27 months' imprisonment; and
  • Guadalupe Martinez, 21 months' imprisonment.

All seven defendants previously pleaded guilty on March 7, 2013.

"This case exemplifies HSI's dedication to combat smuggling and dismantle criminal organizations run by those who exploit our borders with little regard for human life," said Special Agent in Charge, Janice Ayala, of HSI San Antonio.

According to court documents, HSI conducted consent searches of various locations in the Mission, Texas area on Oct. 24, 2012. These locations were known to harbor illegal immigrants. During the search at Los Benitez Ranch, special agents encountered the seven defendants listed above. The investigation revealed that all seven defendants were involved in alien smuggling activities ranging from smuggling to harboring. It was learned this alien smuggling organization was up and running for at least eight months, moving 40 illegal immigrants per week before special agents were able to dismantle the organization.

All seven defendants will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.