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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
09/30/2019

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South Texas woman admits to smuggling minor into US

Defendant agreed to smuggle the minor in exchange for $1,500

LAREDO, Texas — A South Texas woman pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to smuggle a Mexican minor into the United States.

This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick, Southern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  

Rosa Elia Amaya, 27, from Laredo, entered her guilty plea Sept. 30 before U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo. Judge Marmolejo is expected to impose Amaya’s sentence at a later date. At that time, Amaya faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

According to court documents, on July 13, Amaya applied for admission into the United States from Mexico at the Lincoln Juarez Port of Entry in Laredo, Texas; she was accompanied by a minor male and her U.S. citizen daughter. She claimed to be the boy’s mother and presented authorities with a birth certificate as proof of citizenship. Upon questioning, the minor boy remained silent as authorities asked for the location of his mother.  The investigation subsequently confirmed the unaccompanied minor was not Amaya’s son. On Sept. 30, Amaya admitted she had agreed to smuggle the minor into the U.S. for a $1,500 smuggling payment.

Amaya remains released on bond until her sentencing.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Petters, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/02/2019