MEXICAN CITIZEN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY TRANSPORTING IMMIGRANTS
LAKE CHARLES, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Juan Betancourt-Duran, 30, of Mexico, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Minaldi, to 12 months in prison for transporting illegal aliens. Betancourt-Duran will be deported after completion of his sentence.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, on April 24, 2013, an officer with the Louisiana State Police conducted a vehicle stop on the vehicle Betancourt-Duran was driving because of a traffic violation. The defendant’s vehicle was found to contain nine occupants who could not produce U.S. issued identification. Upon further investigation, it was found that four of the passengers were from Honduras, two from Mexico, two from El Salvador and one from Guatemala. The immigrants told U.S. Border Patrol agents that they paid between $1,200 and $7,000 per person to be smuggled into the United States. Some of the immigrants said they stayed at various residences in separate towns in Texas before being brought to Houston. From there, Betancourt-Duran was to drive them to various cities on the east coast in the United States. Betancourt-Duran admitted that he knew the passengers were illegal aliens. Betancourt-Duran pleaded guilty August 29, 2013.
The U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security, and the Louisiana State Police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. McManus prosecuted the case.