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Press Release

Transporting and Harboring Undocumented Aliens Lands Four in Prison

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

McALLEN, Texas – Three men and one woman who conspired to transport and harbor illegal aliens have been sentenced to prison, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Jorge Luis Ortiz-Aguilera, 36, of Mexico; and Jose Mario Ledezma-Vega, 47, and Willie Vargas, 34, both of Edinburg, pleaded guilty in January 2016 to conspiring to transport illegal aliens within the U.S. Juan Covarrubias-Hernandez, 30, and Anayeli Gonzalez-Trejo, 25, both of Mexico, had pleaded guilty to conspiring to harbor illegal aliens.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane took into consideration the leadership roles of Ortiz-Aguilera and Ledezma-Vega and handed them each a 51-month sentence. Ortiz was the head of the organization and Ledezma was in charge of coordinating the scouts in the Rio Grande Valley which facilitated the transportation/movement of the aliens to the Houston area. Vargas and Gonzalez-Trejo received respective sentences of 17 months and 12 months and a day. Covarrubias-Hernandez will be sentenced at a later date.

From on or about July 2015 through October 2015, Ortiz-Aguilera coordinated the transportation of aliens from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to a location near Houston. During the course of the conspiracy, Ledezma-Vega and Vargas acted as “scouts” for law enforcement for the vehicles transporting the aliens, in an attempt to avoid their detention.

In October 2015, working with the same organization, Covarrubias-Hernandez and Gonzalez-Trejo jointly provided food and shelter to  group of aliens at their home in Donna. The aliens was subsequently apprehended by Border Patrol agents as they were being transported further north.

All five defendants have been and will remain in custody.

The investigation was the result of an investigation led by Border Patrol with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Requénez prosecuted the case.

Updated June 14, 2016

Human Smuggling