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Press Release

Man Stopped on Interstate 70 Admits Transporting 10 Undocumented Immigrants

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – A man from Mexico pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges Tuesday and admitted that he was caught on Interstate 70 in St. Peters while transporting 10 undocumented immigrants.

Francisco Ibarra-Hernandez, 36, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel to one count of illegal reentry of an alien and 10 counts of transporting illegal aliens.

Ibarra-Hernandez admitted knowingly transporting the undocumented immigrants to work in the construction industry, or recklessly disregarding the fact that the men were in the country illegally. 

The 2011 Toyota Sienna overloaded with 11 people was headed east on Interstate 70 on August 24 when it was stopped by officers with the St. Peters Police Department for a traffic violation.

Ibarra-Hernandez told officers that he was taking the men to Ohio to work, and that he was paid to take Illegal immigrants from Phoenix to job sites around the country, the plea agreement says.

The passengers admitted illegally crossing the border in various locations in Arizona over the prior month.

At sentencing, both sides have agreed to recommend a sentence of a year and a day in prison for Ibarra-Hernandez. He will then be deported. He was removed from the country more than 15 years ago, when he was using another name.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the St. Peters Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Drake is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 21, 2023