Final Defendant in Alien Smuggling Case Handed Sentence
|April 19, 2012|
HOUSTON - Ulises Barriga, 21, an illegal alien from Mexico, has been sentenced to federal prison for conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Barriga and co-conspirators, Denis Sosa, and Luis Enrique both 20, pleaded guilty to the charge in January 2012.
Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner sentenced Barriga to 30 months. Sosa and Solorio, illegal aliens from Mexico and Honduras, respectively, were previously sentenced to 27 and 33 months in federal prison. All of the defendants 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 Barriga 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.
Barriga, Sosa and Solorio have been in custody where they will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The investigation was conducted by HPD and ICE-HSI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Doug Davis.