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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Jacksonville business owner pleads guilty to harboring illegal aliens

Faces up to 10 years imprisonment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -A 37-year-old man pleaded guilty here today to one count of harboring illegal aliens after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Ruben Tinoco-Tinoco, of Jacksonville, Fla., was indicted on Mar. 13, 2008 by a federal grand jury following the arrests of 34 illegal aliens at various residences in Jacksonville. According to the plea agreement, 29 of those aliens said they worked for Tinoco-Tinoco at Taurus Painting, Inc.

The ICE investigation revealed that the utilities of numerous houses and apartments owned by Tinoco were kept in his name. The investigation further revealed that during the period of Feb. 2007 through Mar. 2008 numerous Hispanic males were picked up at those residences and driven away in motor vehicles owned by either Mr. Tinoco or his business.

"The recruitment, harboring and transportation of illegal aliens are very serious crimes that we will simply not tolerate" said Robert Weber, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Tampa. "My office devotes significant resources to identify, prosecute and incarcerate these criminals and is determined to continue identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities to our immigration system such as harboring illegal aliens."

Tinoco-Tinoco remained on bond pending his sentencing which has not yet been scheduled. He faces a sentence of ten years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Under the terms of a plea agreement, he has also agreed to pay $50,000 and surrender two houses in forfeiture

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dale R. Campion and Bonnie A. Glober.