Press Room

 

DOJ Seal

Office of the United States Attorney, John S. Leonardo

District of Arizona

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                          

Public Affairs
COSME LOPEZ
Telephone:  602.514.7694
Mobile:  602.686-8614
Cosme.Lopez@usdoj.gov
WWW.JUSTICE.GOV/USAO/AZ

NEW YORK BASED ALIEN SMUGGLER AND ASSOCIATE SENTENCED FOR OPERATING AN ILLEGAL ALIEN SMUGGLING BUSINESS IN ARIZONA

PHOENIX– On March 17, 2014, Joel Mazariegos-Soto, 29, and Walfre David Perez-Jovel, 34, both from Guatemala, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton after they pleaded guilty on Dec. 17, 2013, to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens.  Mazariegos-Soto was sentenced to 60 months in federal custody and Perez-Jovel was sentenced to 46 months in federal custody for their roles in laundering the proceeds of alien smuggling and harboring and transporting illegal aliens.

              Joel Mazariegos-Soto, a leader of this alien smuggling organization, operated the illegal business from the assumed anonymity of Fonda, N.Y., where he also worked on a dairy farm.  During just four months of this investigation, Mazariegos-Soto laundered more than $70,000.  Mazariegos-Soto laundered the money by moving it through an illegal “funnel” account, requiring families of illegal aliens here in the United States to make deposits into a bank account, which would be accessed by his alien smugglers working in the Phoenix area.  Mazariegos-Soto and his associates utilized multiple stash houses in the Phoenix area, including one discovered by agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in October 2012 containing over 27 illegal aliens and another found in January 2013 with over 40 illegal aliens.

On April 18, 2013, HSI Albany, N.Y. agents arrested Mazariegos-Soto near his residence in Fonda, N.Y.

Walfre David Perez-Jovel operated a stash house here in Phoenix of behalf of this illegal alien smuggling organization.  Under surveillance from HSI, agents witnessed Perez-Jovel launder more than $16,000 in alien smuggling proceeds.  Perez-Jovel not only harbored illegal aliens but also coordinated the illegal transportation of undocumented persons throughout the United States in a manner that was reckless and dangerous, by overloading vehicles and loading people into the luggage compartments of vans, to be moved across the United States.

On June 11, 2013, HSI West Palm Beach, Fla. agents arrested Perez-Jovel near Lake Worth, Fla. after he fled from Mesa, Ariz. in January 2013 following an HSI interdiction of over 40 illegal aliens from the stash house he operated in Mesa.

The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Phoenix, West Palm Beach, and HSI Albany.  The prosecution was handled by Kristen Brook, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER:           CR13-898-PHX-SRB and CR13-955-PHX-SRB
RELEASE NUMBER:   2014-017_Mazaregios-Soto&Perez-Jovel

# # #

For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
United States Attorneys 225th Anniversary
twitter for USAO District AZ
Healthcare.gov
federal Trade Commission
stop medicare fraud
Victim Witness Services
Community Outreach
Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Oficinas de los Fiscales de Estados Unidos En Español
Justice 101