News and Press Releases

Alien Smuggling Leader Sentenced To 8 Years Prison

October 19, 2012

Tampa, Florida - U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington yesterday sentenced Juan Manuel King (54, Tucson, Arizona) to 96 months in federal prison for conspiracy to transport at least 100 illegal aliens within the United States. The court also ordered King to serve 5 years of supervised release, upon the completion of his prison term, and to pay a special assessment of $100. King pleaded guilty to the charge on July 17, 2012.

According to court documents and sentencing testimony, King was in the business of transporting illegal aliens for financial gain. He would pick up the illegal aliens after they were smuggled over the United States/Mexican border, mostly from the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, would transport them to locations in Tucson, and would then arrange for transportation to their final destinations in the United States. King charged an average fee of $3,000 to $4,000, per individual. King would keep $1,000 and pay the rest to the transporters with whom he had contracted and to the individuals who supplied him with the illegal aliens. King admitted to transporting at least 300 illegal aliens over the past two years.

“Human smugglers have complete disregard for our nation’s immigration laws and the value of human lives,” said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa. “Our special agents use intelligence-based investigations to uncover the criminal networks behind smuggling activities. In this particular case, a Tampa traffic stop helped us dismantle a much larger human smuggling organization.”

“This case was an outstanding example of teamwork and the success we can have when working in an integrated manner,” said Chief Patrol Agent Matthew A. Zetts, Miami Sector Border Patrol. “We stand ready with our partners to identify, target and dismantle criminal smuggling organizations that pose a threat to our communities and our borders.”

On September 14, 2012, another member of King’s organization, Nehemias Lopez-Perez (24, Mexico), was sentenced to 33 months in prison for his part in the conspiracy.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Border Patrol. It was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Donald L. Hansen.









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