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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

January 24, 2011

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

LAST OF THREE CHARGED AND CONVICTED IN ALIEN SMUGGLING VENTURE THAT ULTIMATELY LEFT ONE DEAD SENTENCED

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – The third of three convicted for their part in an alien smuggling organization which resulted in the dehydration and ultimately the death of a Mexican national in Brooks County in 2009 has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Jose Francisco Gelover-Jerez, 32, a Mexican Nation illegally residing in Houston who was convicted in October 2010 of conspiring to transport illegal aliens and illegally re-entering the United States after deportation, will be serving a total of 120 months in federal prison without parole. United States District Judge John Rainey handed down the sentences on Jan. 19, 2011.  The court ordered Gelover-Jerez to serve the sentences concurrently and further ordered him to pay more than $15,000 restitution to Halo Flight and Christus Spohn Kleberg Hospital for emergency medical care.

The charges stem from a Aug. 24, 2009, traffic stop and “bail out” in Brooks County. The continued investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations and United States Border Patrol lead to the identity of Gelover-Jerez, the driver of the Expedition who had absconded the day of the stop.

On Aug. 24, 2009, a Ford Expedition picked up a group of illegal aliens along Highway 281. When Border Patrol (BP) agents attempted to stop the vehicle, the Expedition left the roadway and drove through a fence before stopping in a field. Several individuals “bailed out” of the vehicle and into the brush. BP agents discovered a severely dehydrated male Mexican national in the back of the Expedition. Although transported by Halo Flight to a nearby medical treatment center, the Mexican national did not survive. BP agents apprehended several illegal aliens in the brush including Anselmo Pena-Telio, 20, a Mexican Nation illegally residing in Houston. Pena-Telio was identified as one of the individuals who had arrived in the Expedition to pick up the aliens. Law enforcement officers were also able to identify a scout vehicle, normally used to divert law enforcement during illegal smuggling operations, traveling with the Expedition.  Job Ortuno-Garcia, 27, of Houston, was identified as the driver of the scout vehicle and arrested. 

Gelover-Jerez’s sentence includes increases to the recommended Sentencing Guideline range based upon a prior smuggling conviction. Ortuno-Garcia and Pena-Telio each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens in November 2009 and were sentenced in January 2010 to 45 months and 65 months imprisonment, respectively, by United States District Judge Janis Graham Jack.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Watt.

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