June 25, 2009
UNDOCUMENTED ALIEN SENTENCED FOR SMUGGLING OTHER ALIENS AND HOLDING ONE AGAINST HIS WILL
(LAREDO, Texas) – Gerardo Rafael Perez, 30, a Mexican undocumented alien, was sentenced late yesterday to a total of 102 months for his role in the smuggling of an undocumented alien that resulted in the alien’s forced detention, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Victor Javier Roque-Torres, 40, a Mexican national, along with Arturo Perez-Lopez, 18, and Salvador Uvalle-Malverde, 28, also Mexican undocumented aliens and part of the organization, were also sentenced today.
The charges against Perez and the others resulted from a distress call received by Laredo Police Department on Jan. 22, 2009, reporting that there were undocumented aliens being held against their will at a residence in the 6400 block of Stapelia Street in Laredo. Police officers responded to the residence in question, searched the house and found the defendants and three undocumented aliens being harbored there. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents assisted Laredo Police and began their investigation. ICE agents discovered the caller was an undocumented alien previously held by the defendants who had managed to escape from the stash house. The alien detailed that he was paying $3000 in smuggling fees, but Perez demanded an additional $1000 and threatened him with death if the alien’s wife did not satisfy the ransom. The other three detailed similar smuggling arrangements but did not report other threats. Perez was identified as the person managing the other defendants and the harboring of the undocumented aliens.
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Perez to 84 months for his role in this offense and an additional 18 months for violating a previously imposed term of supervised release – for a total of 102 months, finding that Perez had threatened witnesses in the case and was responsible for threatening the alien with death during the ransom call. Uvalle-Malverde was sentenced to 24 months, Perez-Lopez to 20 months and Roque-Torres to 18 months. Following their imprisonment, all defendants will be on supervised release for three years and are subject to deportation due to their illegal status.
This case was investigated by special agents from ICE with the support of Border Patrol and Laredo Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diana Song with the assistance of Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Elliot, Josh Ackerman and Sam Sheldon.
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