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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



MARCH 21, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


MEXICAN NATIONAL PLEADS GUILTY TO

TRANSPORTING ILLEGAL ALIENS


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


             Jose Tomas Cuautle-Robles, 37, a citizen of Mexico, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England this afternoon to a March 7, 2007, federal indictment.


             By pleading guilty today, Cuautle-Robles admittted that he aided and abetted the transportation of 15 illegal aliens within the United States.


             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. 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.


            Under federal statutes, Cuautle-Robles could be subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000, for each of the illegal aliens being transported. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            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