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June 16, 2011

(713) 567-9388

Three Convicted on All Counts of Harboring Aliens and Importing Minor Girls for Prostitution

McALLEN, Texas - A McAllen federal jury has convicted Juan Antonio Garcia-Garay, 31, Juan Ignacio Chavarria-Ontiveros, 26, and Antonio Martinez Jr., 38, on all counts charged against them arising from a conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens imported for purposes of prostitution, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The Jury returned its verdicts late Wednesday afternoon after two hours of deliberation and three days of trial.  

Garcia-Garay, of Rio Grande City, Texas, was found guilty of importing aliens for prostitution, conspiracy to harbor and harboring aliens, while Chavarria-Ontiveros, of Mexico, and Martinez, of Rio Grande City, were both convicted of conspiracy to harbor 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. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (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 is awaiting sentencing.

All defendants have been in custody since their arrest where they will remain pending sentencing.

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