News and Press Releases

Illegal Alien Lands in Federal Prison for Harboring Illegal Aliens

Sept. 25, 2012

HOUSTON – Carlos Martinez-Aguilar, 44, an illegal alien from Mexico, has been sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for harboring illegal aliens, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Martinez-Aguilar pleaded guilty Jan. 31, 2012.

Events leading to his arrest began Aug. 19, 2011, when the Houston Emergency Center received a 911 call at its operations facility from a subject who spoke only Spanish. The victim advised he was being held against his will at a house in Houston by alien smugglers who had been hired to smuggle him to an unspecified location in the United States. He claimed another person, later identified as Cesar Avila, 38, an illegal alien from Honduras, was armed with a handgun and had threatened them with death and they were in fear of their lives.

The residence was eventually located on the 100 block of Jamaica Street in Houston by officers with the Houston Police Department. The location had no windows and the French doors on the north side of the residence had its glass panes covered with aluminum foil.

Once inside the location, several people, later identified as hostages, began covertly pointing to Avila as the hostage taker and smuggler. Officers also discovered a semi-automatic handgun and a ledger detailing payments by the smuggling organization under the mattress where Avila was sitting.

Several of the aliens held hostage identified Martinez-Aguilar as having come into the building where they were being held and drinking beer with Avila in the hours prior to law enforcement arrival and that Martinez-Aguilar had inquired about the status of payments of smuggling fees. The victims indicated Martinez-Aguilar was not involved in abusing or threatening them and had provided them food and blankets. Officers discovered Martinez-Aguilar had been living in the larger house in front of the building where the aliens were housed.

Another victim stated that prior to the arrival of the police, he and the others were being held against their will and threatened with death if they did not pay or arrange to have paid another $5,000 to the smugglers.

Avila, who was convicted by a Houston jury June 6, 2012, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 9, 2012, at which time he faces up to life in prison.

The case was investigated by the Houston Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys Julie Searle and Doug Davis prosecuted the case.



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