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Press Release

Smuggler admits to smuggling conspiracy resulting in two deaths

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

LAREDO, Texas - A 34-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens within the United States resulting in a death, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Wilkin Perez-Perez had been in charge and managing the transportation of aliens into the United States as well as the harboring of these aliens in the country.  

On Sept, 21, 2017, Melvin L. Barahona-Godoy and Yoryi Alexis Perez led several people to the Rio Grande River. Two of the undocumented aliens drowned while trying to cross the river and into the United States. Their bodies were discovered along the river banks.  

The investigation led to Perez-Perez who had returned to the Dominican Republic. He was determined to being in charge of and managing the U.S. branch of the organization. He had coordinated the transportation of these aliens into the interior of the United States and harboring them in Laredo. This led to the two deaths.

Authorities ultimately apprehended him on the charges. He was later extradited to the United States.

U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña will impose sentencing at a later date. At that time, he faces up to life in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Perez-Perez has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing. 

Melvin L. Barahona-Godoy, 27, Guatemala, and Perez, 33, Dominican Republic, were also charged in relation to the transportation and harboring of the men and others. They have since been convicted and sentenced.

Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol and U.S. Marshals Service conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Scott Bowling is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 12, 2023

Human Smuggling