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Press Release

Smuggler Gets Enhanced Sentence

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

McALLEN, Texas ‐ Oscar Ivan Romero-Martinez, 33, of Tamaulipas, Mexico, has been ordered to federal prison for nearly six years as a result of his conviction of harboring undocumented aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Romero pleaded guilty Aug. 6, 2015.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Romero to 71 months imprisonment. The sentence was enhanced as the court took into consideration the testimony of a female undocumented alien from Guatemala whom Romero sexually assaulted on more than one occasion while he harbored her at a location in Mission. The court also considered the total number of aliens he had harbored at the apartment and that a co-conspirator had brandished a dangerous weapon while the aliens were being harbored, among other factors.

On or about June 30, 2015, Border Patrol agents were conducting surveillance at an apartment complex in Mission when they observed a parked car that had been reported stolen out of Edinburg. Consequently, they notified local authorities who responded to the location and soon encountered Romero. He fled on foot, but was subsequently apprehended. A total of 16 undocumented aliens were ultimately discovered in one of the apartments where Romero had been harboring them. 

During the course of the investigation, authorities learned that Hector De Leon-Ramirez had transported the female undocumented alien from Brownsville to Mission. He was subsequently charged with harboring additional undocumented aliens in a building in Mission and pleaded guilty Sept. 2, 2015. De Leon, 44, a citizen of Mexico who held permanent resident alien status and was living in Penitas, later received a sentence of 18 months imprisonment.  

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol and Edinburg Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Requénez prosecuted the case.

Updated December 7, 2015

Human Smuggling