Hidalgo Man Heads to Prison for Bringing Undocumented Aliens into the U.S.
|Jan. 23, 2013|
McALLEN, Texas – Adan Garcia-Figueroa, 59, of Hidalgo, will spend a total of 70 months in federal prison following his convictions on two counts of bringing an undocumented alien into the United States and one count of illegally re-entering the United States after a prior deportation, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Garcia-Figueroa was convicted by a jury Nov. 16, 2012, following three days of trial.
Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who presided over the trial, handed Garcia-Figueroa 70 months for each of the three charged offenses including two counts of bringing aliens into the U.S. and one count of illegal re-entering the country following a prior deportation. All the sentences will be served concurrently. In handing down the sentence, Judge Crane specifically found Garcia-Figueroa obstructed the administration of justice when he testified falsely at trial. As a result of this finding, Judge Crane increased Garcia-Figueroa’s sentence. Garcia-Figueroa is also expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.
During the trial, the government presented photos, maps and witness testimony illustrating Garcia-Figueroa’s unlawful entry despite being an aggravated felon and while bringing several undocumented aliens into the United States by navigating the Rio Grande River in the shadow of the Hidalgo Port of Entry. The evidence indicated the defendant utilized a raft to bring 12-17 aliens from various Latin American countries, including El Salvador, into the United States during three successive trips across the river. Agents assigned to a Border Patrol Baymaster marine vessel apprehended Garcia-Figueroa while he attempted to flee back to Mexico and later apprehended seven additional aliens after tracking their movement from the river.
Garcia-Figueroa testified and claimed he had previously set fishing nets downstream from the Hidalgo Port of Entry. He attempted to convince the jury he was in the process of floating down several miles of the river in an inflatable raft to retrieve his nets when two border patrol boats appeared and plucked him from his raft and falsely accused him of drug trafficking. Garcia-Figueroa claimed he was the only boater on the water although he admitted to using a raft similar to the one used by the alleged alien smuggler. Garcia-Figueroa could not account for the undocumented aliens that had crossed the river at the same time and place where Garcia-Figueroa was apprehended.
Despite these claims, the government was able to offer additional evidence showing Garcia-Figueroa made numerous admissions to the other aliens as they were being transported to the Border Patrol station including offering to assist the aliens with their return to the United States following their deportation.
Garcia-Figueroa will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Border Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Grady J. Leupold prosecuted the case.