Human Smuggling Coordinator Pleads Guilty
TUCSON, Ariz. – Benjamin Gallegos, 24, of Nogales, Arizona, pleaded guilty in federal court today in connection with his role as the coordinator for a human smuggling organization operating in the Nogales, Arizona area.
During a proceeding before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce G. Macdonald, Gallegos admitted that he conspired to transport and harbor illegal aliens for profit. Specifically, Gallegos managed, organized, and coordinated other co-conspirators to drive, provide guide services, and operate stash houses for undocumented persons seeking to be smuggled into the United States. Over the course of the conspiracy, Gallegos coordinated smuggling operations for well over 100 undocumented persons entering the country from Mexico.
A conviction for Conspiracy to Transport and Harbor Illegal Aliens for Profit carries a maximum penalty of ten years, a maximum fine of $250,000, or both.
Sentencing is set before U.S. District Judge Scott H. Rash on April 22, 2022.
The investigation in this case was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations – Nogales Office, with assistance from United States Border Patrol. The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, is handling the prosecution.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is part of Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA), which was established by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in June 2021 to marshal the investigative and prosecutorial resources of the Department of Justice, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to enhance U.S. enforcement efforts against the most prolific and dangerous human smuggling and trafficking groups operating in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The Task Force focuses on disrupting and dismantling smuggling and trafficking networks that abuse, exploit, or endanger migrants, pose national security threats, and are involved in organized crime. JTFA consists of federal prosecutors and attorneys from U.S. Attorney’s Offices along the Southwest Border (District of Arizona, Southern District of California, Southern District of Texas, and Western District of Texas), from the Criminal Division and the Civil Rights Division, along with law enforcement agents and analysts from DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. The FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration are also part of the Task Force.
CASE NUMBER: CR-21-1322-TUC-SHR-BGM
RELEASE NUMBER: 2022-007_Gallegos
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
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