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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
06/05/2019

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Honduran man charged in South Texas with smuggling an unrelated 3-year-old boy into the US to avoid detention and deportation

MCALLEN, Texas — A South Texas federal grand jury on Wednesday returned an indictment against a Honduran man for human smuggling and making a false family claim.

This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick, Southern District of Texas. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol.  

Starlin Alfredo Martinez-Morales, 24, from Honduras was originally charged by criminal complaint May 10, 2019.  On June 5, a federal grand jury returned the two-count indictment. He will soon appear for his arraignment before a U.S. magistrate judge.

According to the criminal complaint, on May 7, 2019, Martinez-Morales allegedly crossed the Rio Grande River near Los Ebanos with a 3-year-old child, also from Honduras. Martinez-Morales claimed to be traveling with his son and presented a fraudulent birth certificate for the juvenile, according to the charges. The criminal complaint indicates he was not the father of the child and was only traveling with him to successfully gain entry into the United States.

If convicted, Martinez-Morales faces up to five years in federal prison for either of the charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexis Garcia, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/07/2019