May 20, 2010
RIO GRANDE CITY MAN CONVICTED OF TRANSPORTING UNDOCUMENT ALIEN
(LAREDO, Texas) – Michael Garza, 25, a U.S. citizen and resident of Rio Grande City, Texas, has been convicted of transporting for financial gain, an alien who was present in the United States illegally, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Garza was found guilty by a federal jury before United States District Judge Micaela Alvarez yesterday in Laredo.
On Feb. 18, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol (BP) agents on patrol on Farm to Market Road 1017 spotted a pickup truck being driven by Garza traveling north at a high rate of speed tailgating a blue Windstar van, which appeared to be carrying a heavy load. Agents stopped both vehicles after believing they might be carrying aliens and conducted an immigration inspection. Garza was apprehended along with his three passengers as were nine aliens from the van. The driver and front seat passenger of the van fled and were not apprehended. Garza told BP agents that he was a U.S. citizen and was just taking some friends of his to San Antonio or Corpus Christi. The three aliens in his truck admitted their illegal status and Mexican citizenship and told agents Garza had picked them up at a stash house in Mission, Texas, where they had been for three to four days after swimming the Rio Grande River near Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, across the border from Rio Grande City.
Garza faces a maximum 10-year-term of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Aug. 25, 2010, at 2 p.m. Following completion of his sentence, he also faces a maximum of three years of supervised release. Garza remains in custody pending sentencing.
The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by BP’s Human Interdiction and Human Trafficking Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.
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