One arrested after 2 dozen illegal aliens found in SW Houston
HOUSTON – A 36-year-old Honduran national who was illegally residing in Houston has been charged with harboring 29 individuals, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Immigration authorities arrested Mauro Dominguez-Maldonado late Thursday, Dec. 3. He is expected to make his initial appearance Monday, Dec. 7, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy.
The criminal complaint, filed in federal court just moments ago, alleges Dominguez-Maldonado was in charge of watching over the aliens and performing multiple tasks in furtherance of a human smuggling operation.
According to the allegations, one of the illegal aliens had fled the Southwest Houston residence and contacted authorities. Law enforcement responded and approached the location, at which time they observed a vehicle attempting to leave, but quickly return to the house. One individual exited and allegedly went inside the residence.
Ultimately, authorities found Dominguez-Maldonado and 29 others - 28 males and one female, according to the complaint. All are allegedly from the countries of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cuba.
The charges further allege the residence had boarded-up windows and deadbolt locks on the inside doors.
If convicted, Dominguez-Maldonado faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Bennett is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.