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Press Release

Illegal Alien Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Return After Removal Following Conviction of Illegal Alien Smuggler

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

Gulfport, Miss. – Catarina Ixquiactap-Morales, 21, an illegal alien from Guatemala, pled guilty today before Senior U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., to unlawful return of an alien after removal, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Jere T. Miles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, and Gregory K. Bovino, Chief Patrol Agent of the Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector. 

Ixquiactap-Morales’ plea came after the April 30, 2019, guilty plea of Paul Garza, 50, of Texas, for unlawful transportation of an alien within the U.S.  Garza, a U.S. citizen living in the Houston, Texas, area, is scheduled to be sentenced on August 1, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden and faces a potential maximum penalty of 5 years in prison followed by 3 years supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and special assessments that could total $5,100. 

Catarina Ixquiactap-Morales is scheduled to be sentenced on August 22, 2019 by Judge Guirola and faces a potential 2 years in prison followed by 1 year of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and Homeland Security removal proceedings.

On March 22, 2019, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent conducted a traffic stop on a Dodge SUV with Texas license plates around mile marker 40 on Interstate 10 eastbound.  Ironically, the same agent had been present when the same vehicle had been previously encountered in September 2018 in Jackson, Mississippi, in an alien smuggling venture.  The agent determined that none of the passengers had proper documents and that all were illegally present in the United States.

Catarina Ixquiactap Morales was determined to have unlawfully returned after removal from the United States, and was separately prosecuted for that felony offense.  All other illegal alien passengers, except for Ms. Morales, were determined to have been apprehended for the first time in the United States and were placed into administrative proceedings to officially remove them from the United States.  Two of the illegal alien passengers were determined to be unaccompanied juveniles. 

U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the cooperation exhibited by the Department of Homeland  Security, United States Border Patrol, and by Homeland Security Investigations.  Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case. 

Updated June 4, 2019

Human Smuggling