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Jan. 29, 2009

MEMBERS OF BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION ALIEN TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION SENTENCED

(LAREDO, Texas)  – Members of the Ortiz Family Alien Trafficking Organization based in Bryan/College Station, Texas, were sentenced yesterday in connection with federal alien trafficking charges, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

United States District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Porfirio Ortiz, 38, Baudel Ortiz, 31, Calixtro Ortiz, 52, Bernardino Ortiz, 49 and Sandra Ortiz, 32, all of Bryan, Texas, for their involvement in a five-year conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens for financial gain. Porfirio Ortiz and Baudel Ortiz received statutory maximum sentences of 120 months in custody.  Calixtro and Bernardino Ortiz were each sentenced to 75 months in custody, while Sandra Ortiz was sentenced to 55 months in custody. All defendants except Sandra Ortiz were ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. 

The Ortiz defendants sentenced today were the leaders of a wide ranging and highly organized conspiracy that transported aliens from the Mexican Border to Bryan. The organization smuggled upwards of an estimated 1000 aliens into the United States.  More than 40 U.S. Border Patrol and Highway Patrol seizures of undocumented aliens in South Texas have been linked to the Ortiz organization. 

After crossing the Rio Grande River, the aliens were housed in “stash houses” near the Border. They were then transported hidden in horse trailers with a live horse in order to pass undetected through the South Texas Border Patrol checkpoints. From Bryan, the aliens would disperse to join family members throughout the United States and would pay their smuggling fees by Western Union wire transfer or by other means. The investigation revealed smuggling payments of more than $800,000 in Western Union wire transfers to the Ortiz defendants during the time of the conspiracy.
 
Darcy Ortiz Quezada, 24 of Bryan, and Christopher Gene Torres, 24, of Burnet, Texas, were sentenced on Nov. 20, 2009, for their for their participation in this conspiracy. Ortiz Quezada was sentenced to two months in custody followed by two months home confinement while Torres received 10 months imprisonment. Charles Salyers, 30, of College Station, was sentenced to 18 months in custody on Jan. 27, 2009.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Johnson.

 

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