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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Two Guatemalan Men Sentenced In Multiple Alien Smuggling Death Case

LAREDO, Texas – Two Guatemalan men have been ordered to federal prison after their involvement in an alien-smuggling event which resulted in the deaths of two Ecuadoran men, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick. Melvin L. Barahona-Godoy, 23, and Yoryi Alexis Perez, 29, both of Guatemala, pleaded guilty April 30, 2018. 

Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced Barahona-Godoy to 57 months of imprisonment, while Perez was ordered to serve a 78-month-term. Not U.S. citizens, they are expected to face deportation proceedings following completion of their sentences.

On Oct. 21, 2017, federal authorities encountered nine undocumented aliens at a residence in Laredo, one of whom was Barahona-Godoy. After conducting multiple interviews, law enforcement determined Barahona-Godoy and Perez guided the group of aliens across the Rio Grande river from Mexico into the United States the month prior. Perez was subsequently apprehended in 2018.

During that smuggling event, two persons drowned while attempting to cross the river. Both men were from Ecuador.

Both have been and 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 conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher dos Santos prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Component(s): 
Updated April 18, 2019