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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Mississippi

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Two Drivers Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens

Three Illegal Alien Passengers Plead Guilty to Unlawful Return After Removal


Gulfport, Miss. – Ever Anibal Silva-Escobar also known as Ever Silva Escobar, age 18, and a citizen of El Salvador, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr. to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens within the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Annello, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, and Joseph A. Banco Jr., Acting Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.

Previously, on April 3, 2018, Kenneth Samuel Hernandez-Valdez also known as Kenneth Hernandez, an 18-year old citizen of Honduras, pled guilty before Judge Guirola to the same offense as part of the same conspiracy. Both Silva-Escobar and Hernandez-Valdez were found guilty with Hernandez-Valdez scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Guirola on June 27, 2018, and Silva-Escobar scheduled to be sentenced on July 17, 2018. They each face a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as special assessments that could total $5,100.

On January 30, 2018, two Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputies, working together, but in separate patrol vehicles, conducted traffic stops of two Honda Pilot Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) that were traveling together. Silva-Escobar was the driver of one of the SUVs and Hernandez-Valdez was the driver of the other SUV. The U.S. Border Patrol was contacted and arrived on the scene shortly thereafter.

Neither of the drivers had a valid driver’s license, and both were found to be in the United States illegally. Each vehicle contained eight passengers who also were found to be illegal aliens. All eighteen occupants of both vehicles were arrested and transported to the Border Patrol Station in Gulfport, MS.

Silva-Escobar, who was working and living in Houston, Texas, and Hernandez-Valdez, who had attended high school in Texas and speaks both English and Spanish, confirmed that they knew their passengers were illegal aliens and that they were being paid to transport them from Texas. They also admitted that they were friends with each other, and were willing participants in the conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.

Also pleading guilty to separate felonies, were three of the passengers in the SUVs. Pedro Lopez-Alvarez also known as Pedro Alvarez-Baten, age 21, a citizen of Guatemala; Silvano Doroteo Morales-Ventura, age 23, a citizen of Mexico; and Wilmer Antonio Rubi-Padilla, age 25, a citizen of Honduras, pleaded guilty on April 10, 2018, before Judge Guirola, to the crime of Unlawful Re-entry by an Alien After Deportation or Removal.

Lopez-Alvarez, Morales-Ventura and Rubi-Padilla were found guilty of their felony offenses and are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Guirola on July 3, 2018. Each of the three men faces a potential maximum 2 years imprisonment, not more than 1 year supervised release, a maximum $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $100.

Finally, in addition to their potential maximum sentences of imprisonment, supervised release and fines, all of the defendants from this incident will be subject to Department of Homeland Security removal proceedings upon the completion of their sentences.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.

Updated April 20, 2018