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Sept. 17, 2010

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(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – A jury has found Raquel Gonzalez-Lopez, 33, a U.S. citizen residing in Matamoros, Mexico, guilty of conspiracy and bringing an illegal alien into the U.S., United States Attorney Jose Angel Moreno announced today. The verdicts were announced today following a three-day trial before United States District Judge Andrew Hanen.

Evidence presented at trial proved on June 2, 2010, Christina Perez-Rangel drove into the United States at the Veterans Bridge in Brownsville, Texas, accompanied by Gonzalez-Lopez and three minor children. At primary inspection, Gonzalez-Lopez stated two of the minors were her children and one minor was her five-year-old niece named “Thalia” and presented a U.S. birth certificate for “Thalia.” At secondary inspection, the minor actually said her name was “Lurdes.” Gonzalez-Lopez then said the child was confused and the reiterated “Thalia” was her U.S.-born niece. However, following an inspection by Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), agents determined “Thalia” was in fact “Lurdes,” a five-year-old undocumented alien from Mexico whom Perez-Rangel and Gonzalez-Lopez had picked up in Matamoros, along with “Oscar,” a four-year-old undocumented alien and the brother of “Lurdes.”
Perez-Rangel testified at trial that the minor children were picked up in Matamoros the day before by her, her husband and Gonzalez-Lopez, her cousin. Perez-Rangel also testified that Raquel had borrowed a birth certificate from another cousin to use for Lurdes and that Perez-Rangel had already crossed “Oscar” earlier in the day. 

Gonzalez-Lopez has been remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals pending sentencing set for Dec. 20, 2010. She now faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment as well as a $250,000 fine for the conviction. Perez-Rangel, also facing the same sentence, entered a guilty plea on July 13, 2010, to bringing an illegal alien into the U.S. and is scheduled for sentencing before Judge Hanen on Oct. 18, 2010.

This case was investigated by ICE-HSI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Oscar Ponce.


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