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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

Nov. 14, 2012

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

Falfurrias Man Convicted of Alien Smuggling Resulting in Death

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Lewey Martinez, 31, of Falfurrias, has pleaded guilty in an alien smuggling and harboring scheme that resulted in the September 2011 death of a 24-year-old Mexican national, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

At his plea hearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack today, the government detailed that for five years, Martinez coordinated the transportation of aliens around the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Falfurrias. On the evening of Sept. 15, 2011, Martinez arranged for approximately 20 illegal aliens to hike around the checkpoint with the assistance of guides. After walking around the checkpoint, the aliens were driven to a stash house on Martinez’s property.

Shortly after the group’s arrival, two brush guides drove to the stash house with an additional alien who had died, or nearly died, from exposure and dehydration. When it became apparent the victim was deceased, Martinez and two others loaded the victim's body into a pickup truck and drove it to a public intersection. Martinez then called the emergency operator from a payphone and directed police to the body. Following his arrest, Martinez admitted his role in the smuggling operation and his involvement in the disposal of Gonzalez's body.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 25, 2013, at which time he faces up to 20 years in prison. He will remain in custody pending that hearing.

The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey D. Preston prosecuted the case.