Skip to main content
Press Release

Human Trafficker Working With Mexican “Coyotes” Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Transport Illegal Aliens

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

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the guilty plea of MARIO ELPIDIO CHAVEZ MILLAN, a human trafficker working with Mexican “coyotes,” for conspiring to transport illegal aliens throughout the United States.  As part of his plea, CHAVEZ also admitted to his participation in a kidnapping conspiracy.  CHAVEZ pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 7, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Mario Elpidio Chavez Millan and others like him are an integral cog in the human trafficking machine that preys on people who attempt to enter the United States through its southern border each year.  The services that Chavez offers are what make it possible for coyotes, the cartels, and others to smuggle people throughout the country, often times for large fees.  And in this case — as in many cases involving human traffickers — Chavez and those working with him sought to extort their victims for even more money.  This Office will use every tool available to law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those involved in human trafficking.”

According to the Complaint previously filed against CHAVEZ, the Indictment, and other filings:

On about July 10, 2023, the New York State Police in the Town of Cortlandt, New York, received a report from an individual (“Individual-1”) that Individual-1’s relative (“Victim-1”) had entered the country illegally with the assistance of “coyotes” and was being transported by a man in the United States working with the coyotes, who was later identified as CHAVEZ.  Individual-1 further informed the State Police that CHAVEZ had told Victim-1 that he was not going to release Victim-1 unless Victim-1 or his/her family paid $1,000 in addition to the money that Victim-1 had already paid to the coyotes.

That evening, State Police executed a traffic stop of CHAVEZ’s vehicle in the Town of Cortlandt.  At that time, there were approximately five people in the vehicle in addition to CHAVEZ.  After those passengers and Victim-1 were brought to the State Police barracks, each reported that they had illegally entered the United States and that they were being driven by CHAVEZ from in or about New Mexico to other states throughout the country.  Several of CHAVEZ’s passengers stated that CHAVEZ threatened them during the drive, telling them that they could not leave without paying him an additional $1,000 and that CHAVEZ told them he had previously killed someone for running away without paying.

*                *                *

CHAVEZ, 19, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to transport aliens throughout the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hudson Valley Resident Agency and Safe Streets Task Force and the New York State Police.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David Markewitz is in charge of the prosecution.  


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated May 7, 2024

Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 24-166