Third Colombian National Extradited to the United States to Face Charges for Encouraging and Inducing Aliens to Come to the United States
A Colombian citizen was extradited yesterday from Colombia to the United States to face a four-count federal indictment in the Southern District of Florida for his role in a scheme to smuggle illegal aliens from Colombia into the United States.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg of the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Mark Selby of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami Field Office made the announcement.
Fredis Valencia Palacios, 29, is charged along with three others in a Jan. 6 indictment with one count of conspiracy to encourage and induce aliens to come to the Unites States as well as three counts of encouraging and inducing aliens to come to the United States. Palacios had his initial court appearance earlier today and has a detention hearing on May 15 at 10 a.m. ET before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes. Colombian nationals Carlos Emilio Ibarguen Palacios, 26, and Jhoan Stiven Carreazo Asprilla, 23, were previously extradited to the Southern District of Florida on Nov. 8, 2017 and Jan. 18., respectively. According to allegations in the indictment, from as early as November 2014, Valencia Palacios and other co-conspirators organized and arranged the unlawful smuggling of illegal aliens to the United States. The indictment alleges that in at least one instance, the defendant’s conduct resulted in the death of two individuals.
This case is scheduled for trial before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez in Miami on Aug. 6.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
This case is being investigated by HSI Miami, with assistance from the HSI Bogota field office. The Government of Colombia, including the Colombian Office of the Attorney General, provided significant assistance and support during the investigation. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant support with the defendant’s extradition. The investigation is being conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Danielle Hickman of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Dobbins of the Southern District of Florida.