Mexican National Indicted for Smuggling 53 Aliens in Tractor Trailer
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Mexican National on a visitor visa is set to appear in court on charges he attempted to smuggle illegal aliens behind a load of produce, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
A federal grand jury returned the indictment against Luis Valero-Carrizales, 39, Feb. 28. He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason Libby at 9:30 a.m. today, at which time the government expects to request his continued detention pending further criminal proceedings.
The charges allege Valero-Carrizales conspired to transport illegal aliens hidden behind a load of produce in the trailer portion of the 18-wheeler he was driving. On Dec. 16, 2017, Valero-Carrizales allegedly drove a freightliner and approached the primary inspection lane at the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint near Falfurrias. During a routine immigration inspection, a service canine alerted to the trailer, according to the charges.
The indictment alleges that during a subsequent search of the vehicle, authorities discovered 53 illegal aliens hidden inside. The temperature inside the refrigerated trailer was allegedly 54 degrees.
He was taken into custody at that time, upon the filing of a criminal complaint.
If convicted, Valero-Carrizales faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Miller is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.