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March 10, 2023Eagle Pass, TX, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

HSI San Antonio investigation results 6-year sentence for human smuggler

EAGLE PASS, Texas — On March 9, a federal judge in Del Rio sentenced Enrique Rodriguez, 21, of San Antonio, to 78 months in prison for conspiracy to transport noncitizens resulting in serious bodily injury or placing lives in jeopardy. In addition to his prison sentence, the judge ordered him to pay $205,827.97 in restitution.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio, U.S. Border Patrol, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Dimmitt County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty on Oct. 20, 2020.

“Targeting smugglers who prey on human beings is a top priority for HSI," said HSI San Antonio acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “Human smugglers show a callous disregard for the value of life. Because of this, we will continue to aggressively pursue these human smugglers who put the lives of others in jeopardy for financial gain.”

According to court documents, Rodriguez fled in a pickup truck during an attempted traffic stop by a Dimmit County sheriff’s deputy. Driving north on U.S. Highway 83 at speeds over 100 mph, Rodriguez narrowly avoided multiple collisions with oncoming law enforcement vehicles and others and drove head-on into a guardrail. The vehicle’s occupants, including six noncitizens riding in the truck’s bed, were ejected as the truck rolled over. The responding deputy and U.S. Border Patrol agents observed that the vehicle’s occupants suffered serious injuries, including likely head trauma, broken legs, severe neck injuries, loss of upward mobility and loss of consciousness. Four of the six noncitizens required emergency room treatment.

Rodriguez remains in federal custody, where he has been since his arrest on May 19, 2020.

“This defendant failed to yield for a traffic stop and his numerous reckless decisions that followed resulted in a violent crash,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas. “His smuggling victims are very fortunate they survived. These smuggling attempts pose a very serious threat not only to those directly involved, but to innocent civilians and our partners as well.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Banister of the Western District of Texas 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’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.