Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
June 21, 2012
STANFIELD WOMAN FOUND GUILTY OF TRANSPORTING ILLEGAL ALIENS
PHOENIX – A federal jury in Phoenix has found Renalda Bernice Ortega, 51, of Stanfield, Ariz., guilty of transporting illegal aliens. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake on June 19 and 20, 2012.
Evidence presented at trial showed that on February 6, 2012, at approximately 11:30 p.m., a U.S. Border Patrol agent began following a white Ford Expedition that was being driven erratically in a remote area south of Stanfield. As the agent followed the Expedition, he saw three individuals bail out of the vehicle and run into the desert. Further investigation revealed that the three individuals were illegally present in the United States and that Ortega had agreed to transport them. The three illegal aliens were removed to Mexico.
A conviction for transporting illegal aliens carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Wake will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
Sentencing is set before Judge Wake on Oct. 9, 2012.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Gila River Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Christina Covault and Sean Lokey, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-12-317-PHX-NVW
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-159(Ortega)
# # #For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az