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January 27, 2011

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(HOUSTON) – Mary Jesse Cuadros, 24, of Houston, has been sentenced to 22 months imprisonment for conspiring to transport and harbor an illegal alien within the United States resulting in his death, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Cuadros, who pleaded guilty to the felony immigration offense on June 28, 2010, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal. In custody since her May 1, 2009 arrest, Cuadros will remain in federal custody to begin serving her sentence and will be transferred to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where she will serve out her sentence.

At the time of her guilty plea in June, the government summarized the evidence against Cuadros for the court. The record of the case shows that relatives and friends of a Honduran national, who had been illegally smuggled into United States, received a series of phone calls from alien smugglers demanding the payment of smuggling fees for him. The smugglers also told the relatives and friends that their family member/friend was very ill. On April 27, 2009, the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call that a body had been found in Brazoria County. Upon inspection of the body, a Honduran driver’s license identifying the victim, was found.

Special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) initiated an investigation based on information gleaned from phone numbers utilized by the smugglers and established surveillance at a trailer park in the 13000 block of Hooper in Harris County, Texas. A traffic stop of a vehicle leaving one of the trailers was conducted and agents made contact with Cuadros. Meanwhile, another agent who had continued to maintain surveillance at Cuadros’ residence saw Amancio Aburto-Gamino and another co-defendant Lucero Aburto arrive in a vehicle. Aburto, having received a phone call from Cuadros that agents were on the way, ran into the trailer intending to warn the occupants.  Agents arrested Aburto-Gaminoand Aburto.

Inside the trailer, agents discovered a “pollo” list, a slang term employed in describing ledgers used by alien smugglers to keep information regarding smuggled aliens, contact numbers to obtain smuggling fees and fees paid to the smugglers. The list contained the names of 27 illegally smuggled aliens. A pistol and numerous cell phones were also discovered.

Agents also searched a second trailer belonging to Cuadros and there discovered trash bags and maroon curtains which matched those used to wrap the body of the victim.

Through further investigation, agents learned that the victim had been extremely ill when he was delivered to the trailer by an unidentified smuggler. Aburto purchased a drink for the victim who drank it, went into a bathroom, collapsed and died. An autopsy conducted later by the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to determine the cause of death.

Through the interviews with the aliens, Gabriel Guzman-Villa was identified as having been involved in the alien smuggling business for at least two years with his wife, Cuadros, and stepfather, Aburto-Gamino,and that it was Guzman-Villa who dumped the body of the victim on the side of the road.

Aburto-Gamino, 48, and Guzman-Villa, 28, both illegal aliens from Mexico, were sentenced on Dec. 8, 2010, to 27 and 51 months imprisonment respectively and will face deportation proceedings upon completion of their sentences. Aburto was charged with misprision of a felony and was sentenced on Aug. 20, 2010, to time served and faces deportation proceedings.

The case was investigated by agents of ICE-HSI with the assistance of the Houston Police Department and Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Doug Davis prosecuted the case.

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