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Press Release

Two Drivers Sentenced For Human Smuggling Four Passengers Sentenced For Illegally Re-Entering the United States

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


Gulfport, Miss. – Ever Anibal Silva-Escobar, a citizen of El Salvador, was sentenced on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, to 27 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens within the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Jere T. Miles, Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, and Gregory K. Bovino, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.

Additionally, one of Silva-Escobar’s passengers, Yesica Paola Rojas-Baten, a citizen of Guatemala, was sentenced on Thursday, July 19, 2018, to 5 months and 19 days imprisonment. Rojas-Baten was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden for her violation of being an alien who illegally returned to the United States after having been lawfully removed. Rojas-Baten previously pled guilty on April 30, 2018. Silva-Escobar and Rojas-Baten both were sentenced to 1 year of supervised release following their imprisonment. Silva-Escobar was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

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 Kenneth Samuel Hernandez-Valdez, also known as Kenneth Hernandez, 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 in the United States illegally. Each vehicle contained eight passengers who also were found to be illegal aliens. The SUVs each contained a total of nine occupants even though each vehicle only had seat belts for eight occupants. All eighteen occupants of both vehicles were arrested and transported to the Border Patrol Station in Gulfport, MS.

Silva-Escobar and Hernandez-Valdez, confirmed that they knew their passengers were illegal aliens, and the evidence showed that they were being paid to transport the aliens from Texas. On April 3, 2018, Hernandez-Valdez also pled guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens Within the United States, and he was sentenced on June 27, 2018, to 27 months in federal prison and 2 years of supervised release upon completion of his sentence.

Further, three other passengers, Pedro Lopez-Alvarez a/k/a Pedro Lopez Alvarez a/k/a Pedro Alvarez-Baten, a citizen of Guatemala; Silvano Doroteo Morales-Ventura a/k/a Silvano Morales Ventura, a citizen of Mexico; and Wilmer Antonio Rubi-Padilla a/k/a Wilmer Rubi Padilla, a citizen of Honduras, were sentenced on July 3, 2018, for Unlawfully Returning to the U.S. After Removal. The three men were sentenced by Judge Guirola to terms ranging from just over 5 months to 6 months in prison. Each of the men had been convicted after pleading guilty on April 10, 2018.

U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the cooperation exhibited by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris was the prosecutor for the case.

Updated July 23, 2018