Alien Smugglers Land in Federal Prison
|April 12, 2012|
HOUSTON - Denis Sosa, 20, an illegal alien from Mexico, and Luis Enrique Solorio, 21, an illegal alien from Honduras, have been sentenced to federal prison, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Both had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens within the United States and to being illegal aliens in possession of firearms.
Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner sentenced Sosa and Solorio to 27 and 33 months in federal prison, respectively. Both men are expected to face deportation proceedings following completion of their respective prison terms.
On Oct. 24, 2011, officers with the Houston Police Department (HPD) obtained information regarding possible narcotics trafficking occurring at a residence on Avenue K in Houston. Officers observed Ulises Barriga, 21, also an illegal alien from Mexico, and Sosa leave an upper and lower residence of the structure, get into a vehicle and leave. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver, Barriga, accelerated and attempted to flee. He was forced to a stop at a dead end, at which time Barriga and Sosa jumped from the vehicle and continued to flee on foot. They were eventually apprehended and arrested.
Officers then made entry into the residences in the structure. Upon entering the upper residence, officers observed Solorio and numerous smuggled aliens, most wearing only underwear, leap out of the second story windows in an effort to escape. All were apprehended shortly thereafter.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) subsequently conducted interviews with the aliens who were determined to be illegally within the United States. A number of the aliens were found to have been transported to the residence in vehicles driven by unknown co-conspirators. Several of the aliens claimed Solorio told them to call family members to obtain payment of smuggling fees and saw him carrying a pistol in his waistband. They also claimed Solorio instructed them to take off their clothes in order to make it more difficult to attempt an escape. Several of the aliens also identified Sosa and Barriga as alien smugglers working in concert with Solorio and stated Sosa brandished a "long gun."
Officers recovered a pump action, 12-gauge shotgun and a .45 caliber pistol in the residence.
Sosa and Solorio have been in custody where they will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prison facility to be determined in the near future. Barriga, also in custody, will be sentenced April 19, 2012, at which time he faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation was conducted by HPD and ICE-HSI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Doug Davis.