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March 3, 2011


(LAREDO, Texas) – The organizer and “lookout” driver of a smuggling attempt of 47 undocumented aliens concealed inside a sealed trailer in June 2010 has been sentenced to prison, U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Carlos Macias, 39, of Lancaster, Texas, was sentenced by visiting U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hoodto 36 months in federal prison without parole for conspiring to smuggle/transport undocumented aliens. Macias - the registered owner of the tractor trailer - and co-defendant Wayne West, 72, of Dallas, Texas - the driver of the tractor trailer - were charged with conspiring to transport illegal aliens following the discovery of 48 undocumented aliens inside the sealed trailer on June 11, 2010, at the U.S. Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint on IH-35 north of Laredo. The discovery was made after a trained BP canine alerted to a tractor trailer when the vehicle entered the inspection lane at the checkpoint. Upon opening the very hot trailer, BP agents found the undocumented aliens sweating profusely. The temperature inside the trailer hovered near 90 degrees. 

West readily admitted he was transporting the undocumented aliens for Macias. Through the investigative efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents, it was learned that West worked for Macias, smuggling aliens from Laredo to San Antonio, Texas, in exchange for payment and had made three previous transporting trips for that purpose. ICE-HSI agents began investigating Macias. Through their efforts, evidence was gathered proving Macias had arranged for four smuggling trips from Laredo to San Antonio that transported a total of more than 130 undocumented aliens. West drove each trip following Macias’ instructions on the location and time to load up aliens in Laredo and unload them in San Antonio once past the Border Patrol checkpoints. Agents located surveillance footage of West making purchases at a local Wal-Mart of water and rubbing alcohol typically used to facilitate the concealed transportation of persons inside enclosed trailers. 

Macias supervised the smuggling transport effort by driving another vehicle nearby to serve as a “lookout” for the loaded trailer. West’s job was to drive the loaded trailer past the Border Patrol checkpoint to San Antonio where Macias oversaw the unloading of the aliens near a hotel off the interstate highway. Macias also paid West hundreds of dollars for his involvement at the conclusion of a successful smuggling event.

West and Macias pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle aliens in August and in September 2010, respectively. West is presently serving a 24-month prison term. Upon completion of their respective prison terms, the court has ordered both men serve a three-year-term of supervised release.   

A third charged defendant, Luis Ruiz-Perez, later identified as true name Juan Arriaga, was one of the 48 aliens found in the trailer in June 2010 who allegedly was in possession of a cell phone used to call West and whose job was allegedly to accompany West south, then travel with the aliens inside the trailer to keep them calm and in order during transport. He was found not guilty of conspiring to transport illegal aliens by a jury in December 2010.

Assistant United States Attorney Diana Song prosecuted the case for the United States


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