Illegal Aliens Sentenced for Human Smuggling Conspiracy and Unlawful Return after Felony Conviction
Gulfport, Miss. – Luis Enrique Moran-Vargaz, 36, an illegal alien from Mexico, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to 8 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens within the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Joseph A. Banco Jr., Acting Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.
As a result of this felony conviction, Moran-Vargas will face removal proceedings by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security upon the completion of his prison sentence. Were he to be removed and unlawfully return to the United States during his period of supervised release, he could face additional penalties. Moran-Vargas pled guilty on January 23, 2018, before Judge Ozerden in Gulfport.
Additionally, one of the passengers Moran-Vargaz was transporting, Juan Antonio Martinez-Alonso, 50, also an illegal alien from Mexico, was sentenced yesterday to nine months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally re-entering the United States after being lawfully removed following a felony conviction. Martinez-Alonso also will face removal proceedings upon his release from prison. Were he to be removed and unlawfully return to the United States during his period of supervised release, he could face additional penalties. Martinez-Alonso pled guilty on January 23, 2018, before Judge Ozerden in Gulfport.
On November 28, 2017, a Dodge Ram pick-up truck driven by Moran-Vargaz, and with Martinez-Alonso as a passenger, was stopped by a City of Gautier Police Officer on Interstate-10 in Jackson County, Mississippi, for speeding in a construction zone. While the Dodge Ram was designed to seat five people, the police officer observed that, in addition to the driver, there were six unidentified passengers for a total of seven occupants in the vehicle. The vehicle occupants provided Mexican identification documents and the six passengers could not be identified by the driver. The U.S. Border Patrol was notified, and a Border Patrol Agent responded to the scene.
None of the vehicle occupants had proper documents, and all were illegally present in the United States. All occupants of the vehicle were arrested, and further investigation revealed that Martinez-Alonso previously had been removed from the United States twice in 2016, after a lawful removal order had been issued. Martinez-Alonso also had been convicted of this same offense in 2016 in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Gautier Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris was the prosecutor for the case.