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Press Release

Honduran Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting an Illegal Alien within the U.S.

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

Gulfport, Miss. – A Honduran national pleaded guilty to unlawful transportation of an illegal alien within the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca, Jason E. Schneider, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector, and Vernon Bison, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New Orleans.

According to court documents, Jose Andres Acensio-Lopez, 27, of Honduras, was arrested on September 12, 2021, on Interstate 10 in Harrison County following a vehicle stop by a U.S. Border Patrol agent.   Acensio-Lopez did not have a driver’s license and was found, along with his ten passengers, to be illegally present in the United States. The vehicle was overloaded by three persons over its design, with seat belts for only eight persons.  All vehicle occupants were transported to the Gulfport Border Patrol Station for processing.

At the Border Patrol Station, Special Agents from HSI joined the case.  Acensio-Lopez and his passengers were processed using Department of Homeland Security electronic database systems.  Acensio-Lopez’s identity was confirmed, and one of the passengers was identified as an illegal alien who had unlawfully returned to the U.S. after being deported or removed.  That passenger is being prosecuted separately for unlawful return by an alien after removal.  The other passengers were administratively processed, including an unaccompanied juvenile.

Acensio-Lopez faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  After completing any sentence of incarceration, he also is subject to Department of Homeland Security proceedings to remove him from the United States.  A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acensio-Lopez also has been known by the following name variations or aliases:  Acensio Rodriguez, Andres Acensio Lopez, Jose Javier Mata and Jose Lopez.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol and HSI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.  

Updated December 15, 2021

Human Smuggling