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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



FEBRUARY 16, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


MEXICAN NATIONAL CHARGED WITH

TRANSPORTING ILLEGAL ALIENS


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Bradley J. Schlozman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Mexican national was charged in federal court today with transporting illegal aliens.


             Jose Tomas Cuautle-Robles, 37, a citizen of Mexico, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield with transporting 14 illegal aliens across the United States.


             According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s criminal complaint, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper stopped a 1999 Plymouth Voyager van on Interstate 44 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007. The driver of the van fled the vehicle and escaped on foot, leaving behind 16 passengers in the vehicle.


             Cuautle-Robles was a passenger in the front seat of the vehicle. There were four seats in the vehicle with seat belts; the remaining 13 passengers were required to ride while sitting on the floor. According to the affidavit, all of the windows except the front driver/passenger window and the front windshield were completely covered with black spray paint. Officers also found a urine-filled bottle, food wrappers, trash and empty beverage containers.


             Cuautle-Robles told officers that he crossed the border with 14 of the passengers in the vehicle. Several passengers told law enforcement officers that they had paid between $700 and $2,000 to be transported from Arizona to New York, N.Y., St. Louis, Mo., and Indianapolis, Ind.


            Schlozman cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robyn McKee. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.



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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html