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Press Release

Leader of Deadly Alien Smuggling Crew Gets Massive Prison Sentence

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

McALLEN, Texas – A 26-year-old resident of Mission has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction related to a conspiracy that resulted in the death of two illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

The leader of the deadly alien smuggling crew - Osvaldo Gonzalez aka Chavelo - pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport aliens Nov. 2, 2018.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane handed Gonzalez a total sentence of 262 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court also ordered him to pay restitution to the family of a victim in the amount of $6,800. In imposing the sentence, the court noted Gonzalez was responsible for the loss of two lives and that he is pending sentencing for another alien harboring offense and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On Nov. 23, 2015, law enforcement responded to a crash in Mission involving two vehicles, one of which was carrying at least 13 aliens.

The investigation revealed the driver had gotten spooked when he saw what he believed to be an unmarked law enforcement vehicle. He attempted to evade it and ultimately veered into oncoming traffic which caused the wreck. At that time, several aliens were ejected from the vehicle.

One died at the scene. The remaining victims were hospitalized as a result of their injuries. A second victim passed away within a few weeks.

Gonzalez was identified as the leader of a group of smugglers who facilitated illegal aliens coming into the U.S. from Mexico. They would then be transported to Houston after staying at local stash houses. Gonzalez recruited several of the individuals involved in the deadly event and was scouting for law enforcement at the time of the accident.

He 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 conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety, police departments in Palmview and Mission and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) David A. Lindenmuth and former AUSA Joseph T. Leonard prosecuted the case.

Updated May 21, 2019

Human Smuggling