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July 26, 2012

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Federal Jury Convicts Lopeno Man of Transporting Illegal Aliens

McALLEN, Texas - Enrique Gonzalez-Cavazos, 41, a legal permanent resident of Lopeno, Texas, has been found guilty of three counts of transporting illegal aliens within the United States, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The verdicts were returned just a short time ago following two days of trial and approximately two hours of deliberation.

Evidence presented at trial proved that on March 19, 2012, Border Patrol agents observed a group of undocumented aliens walking through the brush approximately a mile away from the Rio Grande River near Fronton, Texas. Agents learned that a red truck had just picked up the group of aliens and later was observed traveling away from the area. Agents followed the vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver refused to stop. The driver then led agents on a pursuit and ultimately attempted to bail out; however, agents were able to apprehend the driver and owner of the red truck - Gonzalez-Cavazos – along with Julian Cisneros Jr., and 10 undocumented aliens.

Testimony proved that three adult aliens were transported in the rear cab of the truck along with an 11-year-old male. The remaining six undocumented aliens were transported in the bed of the truck covered by a hard cover bed cover. The undocumented aliens were unable to open the cover from within the bed as it could only be opened from the outside of the truck. 

Deposition testimony from some of the aliens was provided at trial, all of whom identified Gonzalez-Cavazos as the driver of the vehicle and indicated he had in some way instructed them or told them to get into his vehicle.

The defense attempted to convince the jury that because he was extremely intoxicated at the time of the offense, he was unable to comprehend what he was doing and, therefore, not guilty. The jury disagreed and found him guilty of three counts of alien transportation as charged.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for Oct 4, 2012, at which time he faces up to five years in federal prison on each count. He will remain in ciustody pending that hearing. Co-defendant Cisneros, 48, of Falcon, Texas, previously pleaded guilty and will be sentenced Aug. 20, 2012.

Border Patrol investigated. Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia Rigney and Kristen Rees prosecuted the case.