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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Brownsville man and woman arrested for smuggling aliens for prostitution

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - A Brownsville man and woman were arrested Thursday, April 30, on warrants issued following a six-count indictment by a federal grand jury charging them with importing and harboring aliens for prostitution. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson, Southern District of Texas. U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is conducting the ongoing investigation.

The April 28 indictment was unsealed Friday after the arrests of Juan Luis Coronado, aka Juan Hernandez, 37, and Lee Ann Zieger, aka Lee Ann Motilla, 40, both of Brownsville. ICE arrested Coronado at a grocery store and Zieger at her residence without incident.

The defendants made their initial appearance before U. S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio May 1. Coronado was ordered temporarily held without bond pending trial of the case that begins Tuesday, May 5, at 1:30 p.m. Zieger was granted a $75,000 bond, upon depositing $5,000 into the registry of the court with numerous conditions, including GPS monitoring and no travel outside of Cameron County.

The indictment is a result of a seven-month investigation conducted by ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Coronado and Zeiger are charged with one count of conspiring to harbor illegal aliens in October 2008, one count of importing aliens for prostitution purposes, one count of attempting to import a minor alien for prostitution purposes, and two counts of harboring aliens for prostitution purposes. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment without parole and a three-year term of supervised release. Coronado is also charged with impersonating a federal officer, an offense which, upon conviction, carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.