News and Press Releases

Falfurrias Man Sent to Prison for Alien Smuggling Scheme That Resulted in Death

Feb. 28, 2013

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Lewey Martinez, 32, of Falfurrias, has been ordered to prison for his role 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. Martinez  pleaded guilty Nov. 14, 2012.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday afternoon, Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Martinez a 115-month sentence. Martinez will also be required to serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.

At his plea hearing last year, 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.

Martinez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

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.

 

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