News and Press Releases

Federal Jury Convicts Edinburg Alien Smuggler on All Counts as Charged

Dec. 6, 2012

McALLEN, Texas - Jose Luis Tobias, 28, of Edinburg, has been found guilty of two counts of conspiring to harbor and transport undocumented aliens and three counts of harboring undocumented aliens, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The verdicts were returned just a short time ago following two days of trial and approximately five hours of deliberation.

Evidence presented at trial proved that on Sept. 25, 2012, Border Patrol agents encountered 31 undocumented aliens in an apartment in Edinburg. The night before, he had assisted in transporting some undocumented aliens north of Edinburg to just south of the Falfurrias checkpoint. When he was apprehended he was preparing to assist in the transportation of more undocumented aliens that night. Evidence also showed that Tobias had also previously delivered food for the undocumented aliens at the Edinburg apartment.

The defense attempted to convince the jury that Tobias was not involved in the alien smuggling and, therefore, not guilty. The jury disagreed and found him guilty of five counts of alien smuggling as charged.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for Feb. 14, 2013, at which time he faces up to 10 years in federal prison on the two conspiracy counts and up to five years on each of the harboring convictions. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

Border Patrol investigated the case with assistance from the Edinburg Police Department and the Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Kristen Rees and Kim Leo prosecuted the case.