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April 26, 2018Laredo, TX, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

Human smuggler sentenced in South Texas to more than 10 years in federal prison for his role in a 2017 smuggling scheme resulting in 3 deaths

1 of the fatality victims was a child

LAREDO, Texas — A Mexican man was sentenced Thursday to more than 10 years in federal prison following his conviction for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in three deaths.  

This sentence was announced 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) with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol.

Omar Gonzalez-Herrera, 25, from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico was sentenced April 26 by U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana to 121 months in prison. Since Gonzalez-Herrera is not a U.S. citizen he is expected to face deportation proceedings after he completes his prison sentence.

According to court documents, on Aug. 2, 2017, law enforcement found footprints near the Rio Grande River in Laredo which led them to a group of 14 people suspected of illegally being in the country.  They also found a Glock handgun nearby on the ground. Upon further investigation, authorities learned the aliens had just crossed into the country by crossing the Rio Grande River. They identified Gonzalez-Herrera as the foot guide.

Gonzalez-Herrera later admitted he was the foot guide and that he owned the Glock handgun. He was carrying the gun in his waistband when he led the other aliens into the United States. He stated he was to be paid $1,500.

While crossing the river, three people died. All three drowned after being swept away by the river current. One of the fatalities was a child.

Gonzalez-Herrera will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher A. dos Santos, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.  

Updated: 10/16/2018