News and Press Releases

Three Sent to Prison in Massive Stash House Case

July 30, 2014

HOUSTON – Three of the five men arrested in connection with the March discovery of more than 100 illegal aliens in an area stash house have been ordered to federal prison, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Jonathan Solorzano-Tavila, 30, Jose Cesmas-Borja, 26, and Eugenio Sesmas-Borja, 20, pleaded guilty just one month after their arrest as did Jose Aviles-Villa, 32, and Antonio Barruquet-Hildeberta, 46. All are from Michoacan, Mexico.

They were all convicted of conspiracy to harbor and transport ilegal aliens and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Today, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal, handed Solorzano-Tavila, Sesmas-Borja and Cesmas-Borja respective sentences of 60, 54 and 51 months in federal prison for the conspiracy charge. Each were also ordered to serve consecutive 60-month sentences for the use of a firearm, resulting in total sentences ranging from 120 to 111 months in prison. As illegal aliens, they are all expected to face deportation proceedings following release from prison. Aviles-Villa and Barruquet-Hildeberta will be sentenced Sept. 4, 2014.

The five men were arrested March 19, 2014. On that date, 115 illegal aliens were discovered in a stash house on Almeda School Road in Houston.

The convicted smugglers admitted they obtained substantial profits as a result of the conspiracy. They had established networks who brought the aliens into the U.S. illegally across the Southwest border. The illegal aliens were then held in stash houses while the smugglers arranged payment of remaining smuggling fees from their families. 

While in the stash house, the conspirators seized the victim aliens’ clothes, shoes, phones and other possessions. The conspirators used guns, paddles, tasers and other equipment to control and prevent the illegal aliens from escaping from the stash house. They guarded the aliens with guns displayed in plain view and threatened to kill them by shooting them in the back of the head if they tried to escape.

In one specific instance, the conspirators contacted the mother of one of the stashed aliens and told her to pay an additional $13,000 for the victim and her two children. She was advised that if she did not pay, they would “make her family disappear and make her family pay.”

They will all remain in custody 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 the Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Julie Searle and Special AUSA Rick Bennett are prosecuting.

 

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