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Press Release

Head of human smuggling ring sentenced to 10 years in prison

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

McALLEN, Texas – The 41-year-old female leader of an alien smuggling organization has been ordered to prison in a conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens and for illegally re-entering the country, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Brenda Yadira Gamez-Castaneda aka Guera La Trailera, of Mexico, pleaded guilty Oct. 8, 2019.

Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez handed Gamez-Castaneda a 120- month term of imprisonment for the conspiracy. She also received 24 months  for illegal re-entry to run concurrently for a total of 10 years. Not a U.S. citizen, she is expected to face removal proceedings following her incarceration.

The court enhanced her sentence, finding she obstructed or impeded the administration of justice. Gamez-Castaneda had destroyed evidence, demanded others to do the same and instructed a co-defendant on what to say to authorities. She also attempted to flee from the country after realizing she was a target of the investigation.

While imposing the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted Gamez-Castaneda was the leader or organizer of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants or that was otherwise extensive and at least two alien smuggling cells.

Beginning on approximately May 17, 2019, Roberto Flores-Brewster utilized his property in Donna known as “the Brewster Compound” to harbor and transport undocumented aliens with Adolfo Medina-Cervantez. Flores-Brewster then transported the aliens to Gamez-Castaneda. From there, she and Silber Vazquez-Mireles would transport the undocumented aliens to additional stash houses and hotel locations where other members of the criminal enterprise would harbor them. The aliens remained there while Gamez-Castaneda coordinated with tractor trailer drivers to smuggle them beyond the South Texas Border Patrol (BP) checkpoints. 

Gamez-Castaneda was found responsible for smuggling at least 25 undocumented aliens. At least one of them was an accompanied minor, while another had been involuntarily detained. Another alien was held by coercion, threat or in connection with a demand for payment. The court also noted that she had utilized a 10-year old child to assist in the alien smuggling conspiracy at a hotel where undocumented aliens, including an unaccompanied juvenile, were being harbored. 

On Oct. 9, 2019, Vazquez-Mireles, 32, of Mexico, was ordered to serve 40 months in federal prison for his role in the smuggling ring. At the time of his sentencing, Vazquez-Mireles also received an enhancement for obstruction of justice. The court found he had placed jail calls during which he informed Gamez-Castaneda, then unindicted, to destroy evidence related to the conspiracy.

Flores-Brewster, 60, and Medina-Cervantez, 29, are set for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Alvarez March 25.  

Gamez-Castaneda has 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 and BP conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Redavid prosecuted the case.

Updated January 22, 2020

Human Smuggling