ST. LOUIS — A previously deported Mexican man pleaded guilty Wednesday to unlawfully re-entering the U.S., and to transporting illegal aliens in the United States.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from Missouri Highway Patrol, St. Louis County Police Department; and the Missouri police departments of Eureka and Pacific.
Rene Flores-Calderon, 35, from Mexico, appeared in federal court before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey who accepted his guilty plea.
According to court documents, on Aug. 2, 2018, a Missouri State Highway patrolman stopped a maroon Chevrolet Suburban eastbound on Interstate Highway 44, just east of the Franklin County line, in St. Louis County, Missouri.
In addition to Flores-Calderon, the vehicle also contained 10 adult illegal aliens from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and three unaccompanied alien children.
During the traffic stop, Flores-Calderon fled the scene on foot but was apprehended the next day.
Flores-Calderon admitted in court at the time of his guilty pleas that he knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that the passengers were illegal aliens in the U.S. in violation of the law. He also admitted that he transported these passengers within the United States with the intent to further the aliens’ unlawful presence.
The passengers in the vehicle were interviewed, and they stated that they had illegally crossed into the United States at various points. Flores-Calderon picked them up in Arizona and drove eastbound.
Several passengers indicated that they or members of their family had paid smugglers to get them into the country and to their destination. Others indicated they paid or were going to pay Flores-Calderon to transport them to various cities in the United States.
Following his convictions for illegal entry and re-entry into the United States, Flores-Calderon had previously been deported at least six times.
Flores-Calderon is scheduled to be sentenced May 15.
Flores-Calderon faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both per count.
In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.