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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Smuggler Gets Enhanced Sentence for Raping Undocumented Alien and Brandishing a Machete

McALLEN, Texas – A 53-year-old Mexican National has been ordered to federal prison for conspiring to harbor undocumented aliens, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. Julio Puente-Oliva pleaded guilty Jan. 26, 2017.

 

Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Puente-Oliva to 70 months imprisonment. The court enhanced the sentence because he raped the victim and brandished a dangerous weapon during the course of the conspiracy. At the hearing, the court heard from a victim who testified how Puente-Oliva tried to forced her to consume alcohol and showed her a machete he kept underneath his mattress. She also stated that he said he would “use it if he had to.” She told the court that Puente-Oliva raped her and then threatened to kill her if she accused him of anything. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the sentence imposed was necessary to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant and to deter future criminal conduct.

 

From Oct. 1-3, 2016, Puente-Oliva conspired to harbor undocumented aliens in his residence in Edinburg, during which time he committed the sexual assault and threats. On Oct. 3, 2016, the victim escaped from the Edinburg stash home and ran to a nearby restaurant where she asked for police. The victim advised Edinburg Police officers that she had escaped from a stash house where she was sexually assaulted by the caretaker. She has also brought a 16-year-old undocumented alien with her who had been harbored in the same place.

 

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

 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Edinburg Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Benavides prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Component(s): 
Updated April 27, 2017