Jury Convicts El Cenizo Man in Alien Smuggling Conspiracy
|Nov. 29, 2011|
LAREDO, Texas – In a verdict returned just a short time ago, a federal jury has convicted Daniel Escobedo, 24, of El Cenizo, Texas, guilty of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens for the purpose of financial gain, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. United States District Court Judge George Kazen, who presided over the trial, accepted the jury’s verdict and convicted Escobedo.
During trial, the jury heard testimony from agents of the United States Border Patrol, who described the events of July 15, 2011, at the Rialto Hotel in downtown Laredo. Acting on information that the hotel was being used to deposit undocumented aliens while the smuggling ring arranged for transportation north, agents first encountered co-defendant Adolfo Gilot-Rivera. Gilot-Rivera was taking food to two aliens being kept in one room of the hotel and a third being kept in another room. Upon his arrest, agents confiscated his cell phone.
Later that day, the cell phone rang and an agent answered it. A voice on the other end of the line announced that he was coming with “the merchandise” and that he would be in a red Chevrolet Tahoe. Escobedo later arrived at the hotel in a red Chevrolet Tahoe, carrying two additional undocumented aliens. When agents attempted to arrest him, he fled on foot and attempted to climb an iron fence, but was apprehended.
Gilot-Rivera pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on Sept. 13, 2011. Escobedo had also previously pleaded guilty, but later withdrew the plea. At trial, Escobedo denied any involvement in the alien smuggling. However, the jurors heard testimony including excerpts from the plea agreement to which he previously sworn and signed in which he admitted his part in the alien smuggling conspiracy and found him guilty following the one-day trial.
Escobedo, in custody without bond since his July 15, 2011, arrest, has been ordered to remain in custody pending sentencing at which time he faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment as well as a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Calhoun-Lopez prosecuted the case.