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Press Release

Members of Family-Based Alien Smuggling Organization Ordered to Prison

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

McALLEN, Texas – A husband and wife have been ordered to prison along with two others for their roles in a conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens within the U.S. by means of a motor vehicle, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Jaime Brewster Sanchez, 40, and his wife Gabriela Garcia Candanoza, 37, both of Donna, pleaded guilty on May 7, 2015. Also sentenced were Martina Caballero-Flores, 50, and Lewis Brewster, 42, both also of Donna and who also previously pleaded guilty. 

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane found Sanchez and Candanoza were leaders in the organization. Sanchez was ordered to serve 57 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release. Candanoza was ordered to serve 51 months in federal prison. At the hearing, additional evidence was presented that showed Sanchez and Candanoza used their large family’s property located next to the Rio Grande river to conceal the undocumented aliens as they enter the United States. Sanchez and Candanoza would then coordinate the transfer of the undocumented aliens after arrangements were made with drivers to transport the aliens to other locations. Caballero-Flores ordered to serve 15 months followed by two years of supervised release, while Brewster was ordered to serve a 27-month-term and three years of supervised release.

Beginning in May 2014, special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began an investigation on Sanchez and members of his family that were involved in transporting and harboring undocumented aliens. He would harbor and conceal undocumented aliens on his family’s real property located near the Rio Grande river in Donna. Brewster and his wife would coordinate with other members of the organization to bring in aliens from Mexico and temporarily harbor them at their residence until provisions were made to have the undocumented aliens transported to other stash houses.

Arredondo and Caballero-Flores were identified as drivers for the organization, while Brewster assisted the organization by directing the undocumented aliens to the different stash locations and by informing members of the organization for the presence of law enforcement.

All were ordered to remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

This prosecution was part of an investigation conducted by HSI and Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Wells Jr. prosecuted the case.

Updated December 7, 2015

Human Smuggling