Final Defendant Sentenced in Alien Harboring Conspiracy
|June 27, 2013|
HOUSTON – Carlos Alejandrez, the final defendant convicted in a conspiracy to harbor and induce illegal aliens to reside in the country, has been ordered to federal prison, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Alejandrez, 30, of Houston, entered a plea of guilty Feb. 5, 2013.
Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake handed Alejandrez a 97-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. Four others - Jabier Alejandre, 22, of Houston, and Ismael Melgoza-Arredondo, 39, Miguel Granados-Lupian, 33, and William Dubon-Milla, 22, all illegal aliens residing in Houston - have also pleaded guilty in the case. Dubon-Milla and Granados-Lupian both received sentences of 37 months, while Alejandre and Melgoza-Arredondo were sentenced to respective terms of 51 and 97 months.
All five admitted they conspired to harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain.
The investigation began on Dec. 17, 2012, after special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) responded to a call for assistance from the Houston Police Department (HPD) regarding a possible alien stash house on the 7300 block of Northleaf in Houston.
Earlier that day, HPD had responded to the residence, began surveillance and subsequently observed a black GMC pickup departing the residence. Officers initiated a traffic stop and discovered Alejandrez was driving and Granados-Lupian was a passenger in the car as was an undocumented female from Honduras who had entered the U.S. illegally. The alien had paid $1,700 to the alien smuggling organization and was being delivered to relatives in Houston who were to pay an additional $1,700 upon her arrival.
Shortly thereafter, a Toyota pickup was seen leaving the same house and was also stopped by law enforcement. Melgoza-Arredondo was driving and had as passenger a female undocumented alien from El Salvador who had arrived in the U.S. approximately one month prior. She had already paid $8,000 to the smuggling organization to be brought to New Jersey from El Salvador and still owed another $800.
HPD officers and HSI agents entered the Northleaf residence, at which time they discovered Alejandre, the brother of Alejandrez, and Dubon-Milla as well as 43 recently smuggled undocumented aliens. The aliens were all interviewed and admitted they were smuggled illegally into the country and were being housed at this residence until their delivery. The vast majority of the males were wearing nothing but their underwear, which court records indicate is a common practice used by alien smugglers to discourage men from attempting escape. Among those in the residence were an unaccompanied five-year-old boy and 12 other juveniles.
During the course of the search, agents seized various documents and items including ledgers commonly referred to as "polio lists" which are used to keep track of the smuggled aliens as well as a .22 caliber handgun and a 12-gauge shotgun, two baseball bats and numerous cell phones.
Previously released on bond, Alejandrez was taken into custody following the sentencing today where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case was investigated by HSI with the assistance of HPD. Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Elmilady is prosecuting the case.