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GUATEMALAN MAN WHO DIRECTED MISTREATMENT OF ALIENS AT LANCASTER ‘DROP HOUSE’ SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2011

LOS ANGELES – An illegal alien from Guatemala was sentenced this afternoon to 240 months in federal prison for his management role in a human smuggling operation that used a “drop house” in Lancaster, where illegal aliens were rescued in 2009 after being held against their will, denied food and physically assaulted.

Pedro Marcos-Marcos, 29, was sentenced today by United States District Judge George H. King. During today’s sentencing hearing, Judge King said Marcos-Marcos engaged in egregious acts against the aliens that his organization had smuggled into this country.

Marcos-Marcos pleaded guilty in October 2010 to two counts of hostage taking, two counts of harboring illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens.

Marcos-Marcos has been in custody for nearly two years after being identified as the manager of the Lancaster drop house, where illegal aliens were held against their will until relatives paid smuggling fees – fees that were often increased once the aliens arrived in the United States. When he pleaded guilty, Marcos-Marcos admitted that he directed the brutal treatment of a Salvadoran national who was rescued from the drop house after suffering abuse that included being attacked with cattle prod or similar electrical device. That alien had been kept in a boarded-up room without clothing or blankets.

According to a police report discussed today in court, Marcos-Marcos managed another drop house in San Bernardino, where several illegal aliens were held against their will, including a woman who was raped when relatives did not pay the smuggling fee.

Marcos-Marcos was convicted in 2004 of harboring illegal aliens in a case brought by federal authorities in Arizona.

The case against Marcos-Marcos was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations.

Release No. 11-116

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