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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

July 18, 2012

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

Aliens on a Plane Lead to Federal Charges Against Mexican Man

McALLEN, Texas – Jorge Luis Gallegos-Avila, 39, of Mexico, is facing federal charges for allegedly harboring and transporting illegal aliens found boarding a plane at the McAllen-Miller International Airport, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. On July 10, 2012, a federal grand jury in McAllen issued an indictment against Gallegos, charging him with four counts of harboring and transporting illegal aliens and conspiring to do so.

Today, Gallegos appeared in federal court in McAllen before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos to be arraigned on the charges in the indictment. Jury selection for trial was set for Sept., 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Gallegos was arrested June 20 near the McAllen-Miller International Airport after he was observed dropping off illegal aliens at the airport. During a ramp check inspection conducted by Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and Border Patrol agents, five illegal aliens were found boarding a charter plane destined for San Antonio, Texas. Gallegos had allegedly, along with other individuals, picked up the illegal aliens from the Rio Grande River before taking them to several stash locations in the area. On June 20, he drove one of the aliens to the airport to purchase the flight to San Antonio for the five aliens and then picked up all five aliens later that day from the final stash location in a Dodge Durango before dropping them off at the airport.

Gallegos has been held without bond since his arrest. He will remain in custody pending trial.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison on each count as well as a maximum $250,000 fine.

HSI and Border Patrol investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Sully is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.