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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mexican Man Sentenced For Alien Smuggling Operation Resulting In Death

HOUSTON - Heriberto Barajas-Coria, a Mexican citizen, has been ordered to prison for six years for conspiracy to transport and harbor aliens which resulted in the death of one, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Barajas-Coria pleaded guilty Feb. 6, 2014.

Today, U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal, who accepted the plea, handed Barajas-Coria a total sentence of 72 months in federal prison. As an illegal alien, Barajas-Coria is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.

On or about June 1, 2012, several undocumented aliens entered the U.S. from Mexico and were guided to a stash house in a trailer park in McAllen. Two days later, they were driven for approximately three hours where they exited the vehicles and were then guided through the brush for approximately five days.

After finally reaching a road, Barajas-Coria proceeded to drive them to Houston. After two hours of driving, a 40-year-old Mexican male died. Barajas-Coria told two other undocumented aliens to leave the body by the side of the road. The other aliens were taken to a stash house in Houston.

On or about June 11, 2012, Barajas-Coria contacted a relative of one of the undocumented aliens to demand smuggling fees.  That relative contacted police who subsequently arranged for a meeting with Barajas-Coria to pay the fees. Barajas-Coria fled that meeting but was later arrested.

Barajas-Coria will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by agents of Homeland Security Investigations, Bee County Sheriff’s Office and the Nueces County Office of the Medical Examiner. Former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) Dan Menes prosecuted the case. SAUSA Richard Bennett handled the sentencing today.

Updated April 30, 2015