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Press Release

Guatemalan Man Convicted Of Harboring Smuggled Aliens into the United States

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

HOUSTON – A previously deported undocumented immigrant from Guatemala has entered a plea of guilty to harboring illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Alberto Martinez-Vasquez, 26, was convicted today as he appeared in federal court before U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore.

The case was initiated Sept. 10, 2015, when law enforcement responded to a loud notice complaint at a residence on the 9800 block of Gillman Street in Houston. The location was quickly identified as a stash house. Inside, officers observed 16 undocumented immigrants in their underwear, three of whom were women and one who was a minor.

As the officers arrived on the scene, Martinez-Vasquez attempted to flee, but was soon apprehended. Evidence showed that  Martinez-Vasquez harbored the 16 undocumented immigrants at that location and charged a fee of $200 per week. He would  collect their clothes upon their arrival and would not return them or permit them to leave until their family members made the required payments.

Martinez-Vasquez will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, set for Jan. 25, 2015. At that time, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

The charges were the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the Houston Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Goldman is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 4, 2016