HSI, federal partner investigation results in guilty plea of truck driver smuggling 110 noncitizens inside refrigerated trailer
LAREDO, Texas — A Mexican citizen admitted July 25 to conspiring to transport 110 noncitizens inside a refrigerated tractor trailer, following an investigation conducted by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from U.S. Border Patrol (BP) Laredo Sector.
According to court documents, on May 24, Marthin Rueda Alcorta, 36, drove a tractor trailer into the BP checkpoint north of Laredo. He drove erratically through an inspection lane and nearly hit a K-9 until authorities ordered him to stop. Agents conducted a search of the trailer and discovered 110 people in his trailer; all later determined to be illegally present in the country from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
As part of his plea, Rueda Alcorta admitted he was desperate for money. He sought out a human smuggler and agreed to drive noncitizens from Laredo to San Antonio for $5,000.
Rueda Alcorta was previously employed as a truck driver but admitted he was “out of practice.”
U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña will impose sentencing at a later date. At that time, Rueda Alcorta faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 maximum fine. He may also lose his status as a visa holder.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.
HSI San Antonio continues to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of the people they exploit. To report suspicious smuggling activity, you are urged to call 1-866-348-2423.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.