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Aug. 30, 2011

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Mexican Man Convicted of Harboring Illegal Aliens

McALLEN, Texas – Manuel Ivan Castillo-Estrada, 22, of Mexico, has pleaded guilty today to a criminal information charging him with knowingly concealing and harboring an illegal alien for profit, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

At a hearing before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane today, Castillo-Estrada admitted he was being paid for being in charge of a stash house and taking illegal aliens there for approximately a month.

On Aug. 16, 2011, according the criminal complaint filed in this case, Border Patrol (BP) agents were conducting surveillance on a house in Edinburg, Texas, and saw a white Ford Expedition leave the residence. A Hidalgo County Sheriff’s deputy stopped the Expedition for a traffic violation and identified the driver as Castillo. BP agents responded and determined that Castillo was an illegal alien from Mexico. The agents then obtained consent to search the residence from an individual there and found a total of 23 undocumented aliens lying all over the floor in the residence and hidden in one of the bedrooms and the attic. The allegations in the complaint also alleged that Castillo beat several of the undocumented immigrants with a baseball bat.

At a detention hearing on Aug. 23, 2011, U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos ordered Castillo to remain in detention without bond. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing presently set for Nov. 8, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Crane. Castillo-Estrada faces up to 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000 for the conviction.

BP investigated the case with the assistance of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Sully is prosecuting the case.