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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Transportation of Undocumented Illegals

St. Louis, MO – Defendant Rene Flores-Calderon, 35 of Mexico, pleaded guilty to eight counts of transportation of undocumented aliens who had come to, entered and remained in the United States in violation of law and to his illegal reentry into the United States after being previously deported. He appeared in federal court before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey who accepted his guilty plea and set sentencing for May 15, 2019.

According to court documents, on August 2, 2018, a Missouri State Highway Patrolman stopped a maroon Chevrolet Suburban eastbound on Interstate 44, just east of the Franklin County line, in St. Louis County, Missouri.  Flores-Calderon was inside the vehicle.  The suburban also contained 10 undocumented adult aliens from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and three undocumented unaccompanied minor children. During the stop, Flores-Calderon fled the scene on foot but was apprehended the next day.

Flores-Calderon admitted in court at the time of his guilty pleas that he knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that the passengers were undocumented aliens in the United States in violation of the law and that he transported the passengers within the United States with the intent to further the alien’s unlawful presence.

Interviews were conducted of the passengers in the vehicle. In summary they stated that they had crossed at various points into the United States illegally. Flores-Calderon picked them up in Arizona and drove eastbound. Several of the passengers indicated that they or members of their family had paid smugglers to get them into the country and to their destination. Others indicated they paid or were going to pay Flores-Calderon to transport them to various cities in the United States.

Flores-Calderon had previously been deported from the United States following convictions for illegal entry and reentry into the United States at least six times.

Flores-Calderon faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both per count.  In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the United States Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement with assistance from the Missouri Highway Patrol, the St. Louis County Police Department, the Eureka Police Department and the Pacific Police Department.

Topic(s): 
Immigration
Updated March 14, 2019