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Justice News

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five Convicted In Massive Stash House Case

HOUSTON – Five men arrested last month in connection with the discovery of more than 100 illegal aliens in an area stash house have entered guilty pleas, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Jose Aviles-Villa, 34, Jonathan Solorzano-Tavila, 28, Antonio Barruquet-Hildeberta, 40, Jose Cesmas-Borja, 22, and Eugenio Sesmas-Borja, 20, were arrested March 19, 2014. On that date, 115 illegal aliens were discovered in a stash house on Almeda School Road in Houston. A two-count criminal information was filed April 8, 2014, charging the five men, all from from Michoacan, Mexico, with conspiracy to harbor and transport ilegal aliens and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Today, all five defendants pleaded guilty to both counts as charged.

The convicted smugglers admitted they obtained substantial profits as a result of the conspiracy. They had established networks who brought the aliens into the U.S. illegally across the Southwest border. The illegal aliens were then held in stash houses while the smugglers arranged payment of remaining smuggling fees from their families. 

While in the stash house, the conspirators seized the victim aliens’ clothes, shoes, phones and other possessions. The conspirators used guns, paddles, tasers and other equipment to control and prevent the illegal aliens from escaping from the stash house. They guarded the aliens with guns displayed in plain view and threatened to kill them by shooting them in the back of the head if they tried to escape.

In one specific instance, the conspirators contacted the mother of one of the stashed aliens and told her to pay an additional $13,000 for the victim and her two children. She was advised that if she did not pay, they would “make her family disappear and make her family pay.”

Sentencing has been set for July 30, 2014. At that time, they each face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy conviction as well as a mandatory minimum of five years for using a firearm which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.

They will all remain in custody pending that hearing.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance of the Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Julie Searle and Special AUSA Rick Bennett are prosecuting.

Updated April 30, 2015