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Press Release

Mexican citizen sent to prison for alien smuggling resulting in death of child

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

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 30-year-old Mexican citizen has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of attempted alien smuggling resulting in death, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Miguel Angel Ceballos-Acuna pleaded guilty March 7.

Today, U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera ordered him to serve 57 months in federal prison. Not a U.S. citizen, Ceballos-Acuna is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the seriousness of Ceballos-Acuna’s crime and the need to deter him and others from engaging in similar conduct.

“Take note - human smugglers do not care about your child’s safety,” said Hamdani. “All they care about is money. In this case, a young boy tragically lost his life due to the reckless actions of this criminal. The Southern District of Texas is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who traffic in human lives and the pursuit of justice for all victims, many of them young children.”

On March 22, 2022, law enforcement responded to reports of suspecting alien smuggling near the border fence on the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) campus. Two individuals had crossed the border fence and got into a white SUV. Authorities then engaged in a high speed pursuit of the vehicle, which ran multiple red lights, but eventually disengaged pursuit due to safety concerns.

However, the vehicle continued traveling at a high rate of speed and crashed into a utility pole in a residential neighborhood. When law enforcement arrived on scene, they discovered the body of a 14-year-old Mexican citizen.

As part of his plea, Ceballos-Acuna admitted he and another individual had driven the white SUV that day to pick up an alien who had illegally entered the United States. When they arrived at the UTRGV campus, two aliens entered the vehicle, including the minor victim. Ceballos-Acuna admitted he knew the minor victim was unlawfully present in the United States. Nevertheless, he attempted to transport the victim which resulted in his death.

Ceballos-Acuna has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol, Brownsville Police Department and Cameron County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edgardo J. Rodriguez and Megan Eyes prosecuted the case.

Updated July 19, 2023

Human Smuggling