HSI San Antonio, federal partner investigation results in prison sentence for longtime human smuggling organizer
SAN ANTONIO — A Texas man was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to transport undocumented noncitizens following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Joint Task Force Alpha.
Fredi Zagala-Servin, 40, of Kaufman, was sentenced Feb. 7 to 97 months in prison for being a longtime leader and organizer of a human smuggling organization that smuggled hundreds of undocumented noncitizens from Laredo to San Antonio inside semitractor-trailers. In addition to imprisonment, Zagala-Servin was ordered to spend three years under supervised release and pay $410,250.
According to court documents, Zagala-Servin spoke with a co-conspirator in Mexico and provided another co-conspirator with pick-up locations for the drivers to load migrants into the semitractor-trailers in Laredo. He then monitored the loads throughout transport and relayed updates between the parties. He was involved in coordinating at least 10 human smuggling events for financial gain with the human smuggling organization. He was arrested June 23, 2022, without incident.
In May 2021, HSI San Antonio began investigating the human smuggling organization’s criminal activity. HSI linked at least 19 human smuggling events to the organization, all of which involved the apprehension of more than 900 noncitizens. Between May 2021 and June 2022, HSI interdicted nine of the smuggling organization's semitractor-trailers carrying noncitizens. The loads ranged from approximately 30 to more than 100 migrants traveling in a single trailer.
Zagala-Servin remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
“This human smuggling organization put the lives of hundreds of migrants in jeopardy by transporting them across south Texas in tractor trailers,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Jaime Esparza. “It is important that people like this defendant, who endanger those lives for profit, are held accountable by our justice system. I commend our partners at HSI and all of Joint Task Force Alpha for their investigative skills and their tireless efforts to uncover this criminal conspiracy.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Amanda Brown prosecuted 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, call 866-348-2423.
HSI is 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 more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.