April 8, 2009
JURY CONVICTS HOUSTON MAN FOR SMUGGLING ILLEGAL ALIENS
(McALLEN, Texas) - Juan de la Rosa, 27, of Houston, has been convicted for conspiring to transport illegal aliens and alien smuggling, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas announced today. The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before returning a guilty verdict on all counts in McAllen today.
At the trial before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, the United States presented evidence that the defendant picked up illegal aliens not far from the Rio Grande River in Escobares, Texas. The defendant drove the illegal aliens until he was spotted by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Upon seeing Border Patrol, the defendant ordered the illegal aliens to exit the vehicle as it was still moving. The defendant then sped away at an excessive rate of speed driving through a school zone, until he was later stopped by Border Patrol. Upon being stopped, de la Rosa claimed he was only going to lunch in Rio Grande City and that he had not been involved with any illegal aliens. Later he claimed he asked the illegal aliens whether they had documents to be in the U.S. and when the illegal aliens informed him that they did not, he decided to let them off.
De la Rosa has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since Dec. 18, 2008, and will remain in custody pending sentencing scheduled for June 30, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane. As to each count of conviction, the defendant faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, as well as a supervised release term of at least three years.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Border Patrol agents. The case was prosecuted and tried by Assistant United States Attorneys Gregory S. Saikin and Juan Alanis.
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