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January 17, 2023Brownsville, TX, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

Mexican national sentenced to prison for harboring noncitizens, possessing firearms following HSI San Antonio, federal partner investigation

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A Mexican national was sentenced Jan. 12 for harboring individuals and possessing firearms following a joint investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Border Patrol, and the Cameron County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office.

Edgar Garcia-Torres, 22, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison. Not a U.S. citizen, Garcia-Torres is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment.

In handing down the sentence, the court noted the multiple crimes to which Garcia-Torres pleaded guilty. On July 28, 2022, he pleaded guilty to harboring noncitizens within the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain, being a noncitizen in possession of a firearm, and illegal reentry into the United States.

“Human smuggling is a dangerous business focused on profits, not people, as this case illustrates,” said, HSI San Antonio Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “HSI is committed to bringing to justice the criminal organizations and their associates that prey on the vulnerable with no regard for the well-being of the people they smuggle.”

According to court documents, law enforcement discovered two harbored noncitizens at a residence located on Palm Drive in San Benito, June 13, 2022. Shortly after, officials arrested Garcia-Torres for harboring the pair. A subsequent search of a second residence located on Bowie Street resulted in the seizure of two firearms, one of which was stolen, and $17,500 in U.S. currency. Authorities were able to link the items to Garcia-Torres. He ultimately admitted to harboring 50 to 60 noncitizens at the location.

Garcia-Torres had been previously removed from the country and was not lawfully present in the United States. He remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined soon.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Coronado, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case. For additional information about HSI’s investigative efforts, follow @HSI_SanAntonio.

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 866-347-2423.

HSI, a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 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 over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 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.

Updated: 01/18/2023