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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 10 Defendants In Conspiracy To Smuggle Aliens Into New York City

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), today announced the unsealing of an Indictment and a Complaint, which together charge a total of 10 defendants with conspiring to conceal, harbor, and shield from detection, and move and transport, illegal aliens across the Mexico-United States border and into the New York City area.  Seven defendants were taken into custody today; three defendants remain at large.  The six defendants who were arrested in Texas will be presented and arraigned before United States Magistrate Judges in the Southern and Western Districts of Texas; one of the defendants, CARLOS SANTANA, was arrested in Brooklyn, New York, and will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein later today.  

As alleged in the Indictment and Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

United States v. Maria del Carmen Vasquez et al., 16 Cr. 708

From in or about June 2015 up to and including about October 2016, MARIA DEL CARMEN VASQUEZ, JORGE VASQUEZ-RAMIREZ, JUAN JOSE JIMENEZ BRAVO, MAYTE ZUNIGA BRACHO, ENARDYS FERNANDEZ, CARLOS SANTANA, JORGE GONZALEZ, and ELSA GUADALUPE DURAN conspired to conceal, harbor, and shield from detection, and move and transport, aliens in knowing and reckless disregard of the fact that the aliens had come to, entered, and remained in the United States in violation of law. 

During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants each performed various overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, including traveling from Texas through the Southern District of New York to transport aliens and to pick up money, making hotel arrangements for aliens, and renting cars for use in transporting aliens to New York City.  Certain defendants also attempted to transport aliens across the United States-Mexico border and into Texas.

United States v. Luis Batista Casola et al., 16 Mag. 7320

Similarly, in or about July 2016, LUIS BATISTA CASOLA and YOENDRIS BATISTA MATOS conspired to conceal, harbor, and shield from detection, and move and transport, aliens in knowing and reckless disregard of the fact that the aliens had come to, entered, and remained in the United States in violation of law.  During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants accepted money from aliens in exchange for arranging the aliens’ transport from Texas to New York City and other locations in and around the United States.

*                      *                     *

Each defendant in United States v. Vasquez, et al. and United States v. Casola et al. faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

A chart containing the names, ages, and residence information of the defendants who were arrested today is attached.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of HSI, and expressed gratitude for the coordinated efforts of the Homeland Security Investigation Offices in Laredo, McAllen, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas; as well as the HSI Attaché offices in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, Customs and Border Patrol, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Task Force – Investigations.  Mr. Bharara also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Southern and Western Districts of Texas for their assistance and support of the investigation.  Mr. Bharara also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Dominican Republic and Mexico; in particular, he recognized the efforts of the Procuraduría General de la República and the Transnational Criminal Investigative Units of the National Police.

These cases are being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Benet Kearney, Frank Balsamello, and Jessica Fender are in charge of the prosecutions.

The charges contained in the Indictment and the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

US v. Maria del Carmen Vasquez et al. indictment.pdfUS v. Casola complaint.pdfUnited States v. Maria del Carmen Vasquez, et al.

                                                                                                           

NAME

AGE

RESIDENCE

MARIA DEL CARMEN VASQUEZ

41

San Antonio, TX

JORGE VASQUEZ-RAMIREZ

39

San Antonio, TX

JUAN JOSE JIMENEZ BRAVO, a/k/a “Juan Carlos”

34

Laredo, TX

MAYTE ZUNIGA BRACHO

36

McAllen, TX

ENARDYS FERNANDEZ

42

Round Rock, TX

CARLOS SANTANA

42

Brooklyn

JORGE GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Jorgito,” a/k/a “Barbie”

46

Laredo, TX

ELSA GUADALUPE DURAN, a/k/a “Elsa Cruz”

48

Laredo, TX

 

United States v. Luis Batista Casola et al.

 

NAME

AGE

RESIDENCE

LUIS BATISTA CASOLA, a/k/a “Cuba,”

48

Laredo, TX

YOENDRIS BATISTA MATOS

28

Laredo, TX

 

 

[1] As the introductory phase signifies, the entirety of the texts of the Indictment and Complaint, and the descriptions of the Indictment and Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

 

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Press Release Number: 
16-302
Updated November 16, 2016