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Press Release

Laredo Man Sent to Prison in Case Praised by Trump

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

LAREDO, Texas – A 46-year-old Laredoan has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of conspiring to transport 78 aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Jesus Alberto De La Cruz pleaded guilty Oct. 4, 2018.  

Today, visiting U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison ordered De La Cruz to serve 46 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by a year of supervised release.  

On Aug. 10, 2018, De La Cruz approached the primary Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint on IH-35, just north of Laredo. A canine alerted to the semi-tractor and trailer he was driving and he was referred for secondary inspection.

Authorities became alarmed when he continued to drive the semi-tractor and trailer towards IH-35 instead of towards the secondary inspection area. Agents stopped him and ordered him and a passenger out of the vehicle.

Authorities soon observed people hidden inside the maintenance hatch in the rear of the trailer. The trailer doors were closed with a bolt seal preventing anyone inside from being able to exit.

They eventually found 78 undocumented aliens hidden inside, all of whom were questioned regarding their citizenship. They were all determined to be citizens of Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, Brazil, El Salvador and Guatemala without proper legal documentation allowing them to enter or remain in the United States.

President Trump personally congratulated the BP agent canine enforcement officer for his work on the case.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and BP conducted the investigation. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Rodriguez prosecuted the case.

Updated April 18, 2019

Human Smuggling