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Press Release

South Texas woman convicted for arranging smuggling attempt that led to death

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

VICTORIA, Texas – A 24-year-old Edinburg resident has entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to transport of illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Viriam Lizeth Huerta-Garcia admitted she accepted monies from the family members of a now deceased Mexican citizen to get him into the United States.

On July 21, 2021, authorities learned that a smuggled undocumented non-citizen had been abandoned along the roadside during a smuggling attempt. A family member of the victim had reported smugglers told them that the male victim had become ill during the trip and provided the location where he was left behind.  

Law enforcement responded to the scene and discovered a Hispanic male laying down in a brushy area a short distance from the roadway. They pronounced him dead on the scene. The investigation revealed the victim was the same as the one the family member reported missing.     

The victim had recently left the country to assist his ailing mother but had been trying to return to the United States. He was last heard from July 18, 2021.

Huerta-Garcia admitted today that she accepted $3,600 from his family members as payment for smuggling him into the United States.

Sentencing has been set before Senior U.S. District Judge John Rainey May 26. At that time, Huerta-Garcia faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

She has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patti Hubert Booth is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 3, 2022

Human Smuggling