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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Alien Smugglers Sentenced after Rollover Incident that Led to Death

LAREDO, Texas – Two Laredo residents and a Nuevo Laredo man have been sentenced to federal prison for harboring and transporting illegal aliens which resulted in multiple deaths, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Four aliens died and another four received severe injuries resulting from a vehicle rollover.

Christina Rosalinda Washington, 31, of Laredo, pleaded guilty Nov. 10, 2016, while Gerardo Lucero-Martinez, 46, also of Laredo, and Raul Arreola-Marron, 50, an undocumented alien from Mexico living in Laredo, pleaded guilty Aug. 23, 2016. 

Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña ordered Washington, Arreola-Marron and Lucero-Martinez to serve 70, 126 and 71 months, respectively. Arreola-Marron had been on federal supervised release at the time of the offense and was further ordered to serve an additional six months. Washington and Lucero-Martinez will serve five-year-terms of supervised release following their sentences, while Arreola-Marron, not a U.S. citizen, is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release. In handing down the sentences, Judge Saldaña noted that each compounded the tragedy and added to the suffering of the aliens by not calling 911 immediately to report the accident so that medical personnel could attend to the injured.

At the time of their pleas, the three admitted to conspiring to harbor eight aliens in Laredo and transporting them to Houston. Washington managed the aliens at her residence, while Arreola-Marron transported the aliens after their crossing from Mexico to Washington’s residence and provided all transport vehicles. Lucero-Martinez was engaged in transporting the aliens to Houston.

Near midnight on Feb. 17, 2016, near the intersection of Texas Highway 59 and Farm to Market Road 2895, Lucero-Martinez lost control of the pickup truck he was driving. The vehicle flipped and all occupants were thrown from the truck. He telephoned Arreola-Marron and Washington to report the accident and asked Arreola-Marron to come to the scene to pick him up. Lucero-Martinez thereafter telephoned another person to pick him up who drove him to a Laredo hospital. At no time did any of the three defendants attempt to provide or contact authorities to provide medical assistance to the aliens left at the scene. State, local and federal authorities arrived four hours later and provided emergency first aid to the four survivors. 

The defendants have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Webb County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.  

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Component(s): 
Updated January 31, 2018