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Press Release

25 Arrested This Week in Round Up Centered on Alien Smuggling Operation

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

This week, federal, state and local authorities arrested 23 individuals indicted for their role in an undocumented alien smuggling scheme operating in Eagle Pass, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs, Uvalde, San Antonio, Laredo, Dallas and surrounding areas in Texas.  Authorities also arrested two other individuals on related federal drug charges.  That announcement was made today by United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Western District of Texas, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero, San Antonio Division.

Those individuals arrested as part of Operation Project 83 include:

NAME                                                                                                                                    AGE                ARRESTED

JAIME JARAMILLO-HERNANDEZ  aka: “Jaime”                                                      49                  San Antonio
NOE VEGA-NORABUENA  aka: “Negro” / “El Negro”                                               32                  Dallas
ANTONIO R. ALAMILLA-RIVERA  aka: “Padrino” / “Don Tono”                           59                  Eagle Pass
VERONICA MIRANDA-ACOSTA  aka: “Veronica Miranda Quiroz” / “Vero”        39                  San Antonio
SERGIO VEGA-TORRES                                                                                                   22                  Dallas
JUAN JOSE MATA GONZALEZ                                                                                      45                   San Antonio
JOSE EDUARDO HERNANDEZ  aka: “Eddie”                                                            30                   San Antonio
FERNANDO VEGA-JARAMILLO  aka: “Saul Jaramillo-Vega” / “Cachas”             31                   San Antonio
GILBERTO FLORES  aka: “Cadete”                                                                                42                   Laredo
DIANA ISABEL BUSTOS                                                                                                 31                     Laredo
MARIO URRABAZO                                                                                                         30                    Crystal City
HERIBERTO MACIAS DIAZ  aka: “Pitonga”                                                               36                     Crystal City
SANDRA PAULINA ALMAGUER Torres  aka: “Nicole Vega”                                  31                      Dallas
ADELA MATA-GONZALEZ  aka: “Adela Mata-Hernandez” / “La Guera”            49                     San Antonio
AMADEO TORRES-VILLANUEVA                                                                                37                      Dallas
CYNTHIA LILIANA HERNANDEZ                                                                                25                    San Antonio
** JOSE ALFREDO GARCIA-VEGA  aka: “Gordo”                                                     21                    Hillsboro, TX
CLAUDIO VEGA-JARAMILLO                                                                                      23                     San Antonio
JORGE SOLIS                                                                                                                    26                     Laredo
RICKY LOPEZ                                                                                                                    27                    Crystal City
ROBERTO AVILA  aka:  “Chana”                                                                                 49                      Crystal City
FERNANDO SANCHEZ                                                                                                  69                     Crystal City
JOSE ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ  aka:  “Mando”                                                        57                    Crystal City
OMAR CARRILLO                                                                                                           35                     San Antonio
EDWARD MELLO                                                                                                            39                    San Antonio

(** Authorities arrested Garcia-Vega while in the Hillsboro County Jail on unrelated state charges)

Two federal grand jury indictments returned last week in Del Rio, charge all but two of the defendants with conspiracy to commit alien smuggling.  The indictments allege that from January 2014 to October 2014, ringleader Jaime Jaramillo-Hernandez and others were involved in related conspiracies to smuggle, transport and harbor hundreds of undocumented aliens from Laredo to San Antonio and Dallas.

Defendants Omar Carrillo and Edward Mello are charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and one substantive count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.  According to the indictment, Carrillo and Mello conspired between January 2014 and September 2014 to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.

Upon conviction of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling, defendants face up to ten years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. Carrillo and Mello face between five and 40 years in federal prison upon conviction.

During this two-year-long investigation, authorities have arrested over 400 individuals and seized approximately $187,000 in U.S. Currency, three firearms, and 19 vehicles.

“HSI is dedicated to working closely with its law enforcement partners in all arenas in pursuit of identifying, arresting and prosecuting individuals involved in human smuggling, regardless of their position,” said James Spero, Special Agent in Charge, HSI San Antonio. “Today’s arrests exemplify the high level of collaboration between HSI and its partners in investigating these cases.”

This investigation was conducted by agents with HSI in Eagle Pass, United States Border Patrol Del Rio and Laredo Sectors and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Agencies participating in this week’s arrests include HSI in San Antonio, Laredo, and Dallas; United States Marshals Service; Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations -- Air and Marine Operations; Bexar County Sheriff’s Office; Maverick County Sheriff’s Office; Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office; Zavala County Sheriff’s Office; Dallas Police Department; and, Irving Police Department.  This case was supported by the Joint Taskforce West, South Texas Corridor.  Assistant United States Attorney Ralph Paradiso, Lewis Thomas and Katie Griffin in Del Rio are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.  The defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Updated December 7, 2015

Human Smuggling