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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

Aug. 24, 2011

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

Rio Grande Man Sentenced for Importing Aliens for Prostitution

McALLEN, Texas - Juan Antonio Garcia-Garay, age 32, of Rio Grande City, Texas was sentenced today to the statutory maximum of 120 months imprisonment for importing aliens for prostitution, conspiracy to harbor and harboring aliens, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in San Antonio. U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane also sentenced two co-defendants, Juan Ignacio Chavarria-Ontiveros, 26, of Mexico, and Antonio Martinez Jr., 38, of Rio Grande City, Texas, to 84 and 87 months, respectively. Following their release from prison, all three will also serve a three-year-term of supervised release.

"Today’s sentencing of all three defendants should resonate loud and clear throughout our immigrant community," said Robinette, "ICE will continue to aggressively identify and assist victims of human trafficking and apprehend and present for prosecution those abusers who engage and profit from these crimes."

The defendants went to trial and were convicted in June 2011. Garcia-Garay was convicted of importing aliens for prostitution, conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and harboring illegal aliens. Chavaria-Ontiveros and Martinez were convicted of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and harboring illegal aliens.

During trial, the jury heard testimony of a Rio Grande City officer that on March 16, 2011, during a traffic stop the officer encountered the driver, Garcia-Garay, and Chavirra-Ontiveros and a 13-year-old juvenile female as passengers. The officer learned that the juvenile was in the country illegally and contacted Border Patrol (BP). While asking routine questions of the unaccompanied minor, BP agents learned about the child being used for prostitution purposes. ICE-HSI agents were contacted and their investigation identified the 13-year-old and two other females, ages 15 and 18, who were undocumented aliens who had been harbored at two apartments and a house in Rio Grande City. These juveniles testified that they had been prostitutes in Mexico and Garcia-Garay had asked them to come and work in the United States. They testified he coordinated their travel and that while they were at the apartments and house, they had sex with the defendants and other men. The girls were promised money upon their return to Mexico. Chavarria, who was armed, acted as a guard at the apartments always looking out the window and Martinez rented the apartments and lived in the home where the juveniles were harbored.  

A fourth defendant, Jorge Eutacio Martinez-Mendoza, 46, previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to harbor charges and was sentenced on Aug. 18, 2011, to 51 months for his role in the conspiracy which was to guard the minors when they were at Martinez’ house.

All defendants have been in custody since their arrest where they will remain pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future. 

The case was investigated by ICE-HSI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kimberly Leo and Kristen Rees.