Illegal Alien Convicted on Multiple Charges
HOUSTON – A 57-year-old an illegal alien from Mexico has pleaded guilty to harboring illegal aliens, using a firearm during a crime of violence, illegal re-entry and being an alien in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
J. Matias Picazo-Lucas was convicted today.
On Aug. 3, 2017, an individual contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to report that a person had been smuggled into the United States and was being held against his will in Houston. That person advised that the unknown smugglers were demanding money in return for the release of the alien.
An undercover agent called the smuggler and arranged to meet him at a grocery store on Bellaire Boulevard to conduct a buyout of the relative. Law enforcement was on the scene when Picazo-Lucas arrived with two aliens who were being held. The agent and Picazo-Lucas discussed the payment, after which time authorities took Picazo-Lucas into custody. At the time of his arrest, he was found to be carrying a loaded .38 caliber pistol.
The two aliens were here illegally from Guatemala and indicated Picazo-Lucas and another individual, subsequently identified as Omar Picazo-Torres, had transported them to Houston in a tractor-trailer. Picazo-Lucas and Picazo-Torres held the hostages at gunpoint in order to intimidate them and prevent their escape.
The conspirators made phone calls to the person who had reported the kidnapping and other friends and family members of the hostages demanding payment for the release of the hostages.
U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison accepted the plea today and has set sentencing for May 24, 2018. At that time, Picazo-Lucas faces a total of a minimum five years and up to life for the two firearms convictions, another 10 years for harboring aliens and a maximum of 20 years on the illegal re-entry conviction. Each count carries a potential fine of up to $250,000.
Mexican National Omar Picazo-Lucas, 19, remains a fugitive and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact HSI at 866-DHS-2-ICE.
HSI, Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas Davis and Kevin Lear are prosecuting the case.