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Press Release

Leader of Alien Smuggling Ring Gets Three Years

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher Alexander (619) 546-6665




SAN DIEGO – Issac Mahatma Osuna-Sanchez, the ringleader of an alien smuggling crew, was sentenced in federal court Friday to three years in prison for bringing 14 undocumented immigrants into the United States from Mexico in a small boat off the coast of California.


Osuna-Sanchez and three others - Enrique Ramirez-Fernandez, Mario Alejandro Sainz-Avila, and Hector Velasquez – pleaded guilty in connection with the events of November 4, 2016, when the U.S. Coast Guard encountered and stopped a vessel on the open sea operating at night, without any navigation or running lights. They discovered the smugglers and the undocumented immigrants on board.


At sentencing, U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes found that Osuna-Sanchez was a manager of the smuggling venture and his conduct created a substantial risk to the immigrants on board the vessel.


U.S. Border Patrol agents identified one of the vessel’s occupants as a citizen of Nicaragua; the remainder were citizens of Mexico. Border Patrol agents arrested all eighteen occupants and transported them to the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station.


In addition to the smugglers, two of the others who were aboard the vessel - Ernesto Ignacio Madrigal-Garza and Danilo Alberto Mairena - had previously been deported to Mexico from the United States. They were prosecuted for unlawful reentry into the United States by a previously deported alien, in violation of Title 8, U.S.C., Section 1326. Madrigal-Garza’s prior criminal history involved felony convictions for access device fraud and one prior immigration offense. Mairena’s prior criminal history involved numerous misdemeanor and felony convictions involving violent crimes such as battery, assault, and numerous domestic violence related offenses.


The remaining twelve undocumented individuals, not charged as alien smugglers, were held as material witnesses.


Earlier, on April 19, 2017, Judge Hayes sentenced one of the vessel’s pilots, Mario Alejandro Sainz-Avila, to a prison term of 24 months, for his role in smuggling the fourteen undocumented aliens. In addition, Judge Hayes sentenced two others who aided in smuggling the aliens, Enrique Ramirez-Fernandez and Hector Velasquez, to thirteen months and one day.


DEFENDANTS                                           Case Number 16CR2752-WQH

Issac Mahatma Osuna-Sanchez                   Age: 22 Tijuana, B.C., Mexico

Enrique Ramirez-Fernandez                       Age: 27 Ensenada, Mexico

Mario Alejandro Sainz-Avila                     Age: 31 Navolato, Sinaloa, Mexico

Hector Velasquez                                       Age: 22 Navolato, Sinaloa, Mexico






Issac Mahatma Osuna-Sanchez                                   36 months of custody

Enrique Ramirez-Fernandez                                        13 months and one day of custody

Mario Alejandro Sainz-Avila                                      24 months of custody

Hector Velasquez                                                        13 months and one day of custody





Attempted Bringing in Undocumented Aliens for Financial Gain and Aiding and Abetting – Title 8, U.S.C., Section 1324(a)(2)(B)(ii), and Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2.

Maximum penalty: 10 years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine.


Bringing in Undocumented Aliens and Aiding and Abetting – Title 8, U.S.C., Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(i) and (v)(II).

Maximum penalty: 10 years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine.




United States Coast Guard

United States Border Patrol


Updated May 9, 2017

Human Smuggling
Press Release Number: CAS17-0508-Osuna