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Press Release

Family of Human Smugglers Sentenced to Federal Prison

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

DEL RIO, Texas – Four family members were sentenced in a federal court in Del Rio to federal prison for their roles in operating an extensive human smuggling organization (HSO).

According to court documents, Eva Maria Galeas, 43, of San Antonio; Lisa Marie Ortega, 25, of San Antonio; and Sandra Galeas-Mejia, 48, of Mexico, and Norma Galeas-Mejia, 52, of Honduras, were identified as co-conspirators of Roberto Galeas-Mejia, 47, of Honduras.

Roberto, who is the husband to Eva, stepfather to Lisa Ortega and brother of the other two defendants, led a San Antonio-based HSO, overseeing activities that included the transportation and harboring of undocumented noncitizens and the coordination of payments.

Eva, Lisa, Sandra and Norma played roles accepting and withdrawing human smuggling proceeds. Funds were funneled through the conspirators’ bank accounts and used to pay load drivers and stash house operators, to rent stash houses and to further aid the HSO. Funds were also used for personal expenses such as vehicle purchases. Over the course of the investigation, Homeland Security Investigations thwarted multiple smuggling loads and arrested numerous co-conspirators and undocumented noncitizens.

Eva Maria Galeas and Sandra Galeas-Mejia were arrested in San Antonio on June 11, 2019, along with Lisa Marie Ortega. Norma Galeas-Mejia was arrested June 17, 2019 in Houston. On July 27, 2022, a federal jury found Roberto Galeas-Mejia, Eva Maria Galeas and Lisa Marie Ortega guilty of all three counts of a superseding indictment: conspiracy to transport illegal migrants, conspiracy to harbor illegal migrants, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Sandra Galeas-Mejia and Norma Galeas-Mejia both pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.

Eva Maria Galeas was sentenced to 180 months in prison and Lisa Marie Ortega was sentenced to 156 months in prison. Sandra Galeas-Mejia was sentenced to 84 months in prison, and Norma Galeas-Mejia was sentenced to 78 months. Chief U.S. District Judge Alia Moses also ordered the forfeiture of $603,593.00 in U.S. currency, which was discovered in a safe during the home search of Roberto Galeas-Mejia, Eva Maria Galeas, and Lisa Marie Ortega. Additionally, Eva Galeas and Lisa Ortega were assessed money judgements in the amounts of $97,668 and $21,388, respectively.

Roberto Galeas-Mejia remains in federal custody while he awaits his sentence hearing.

“These defendants, along with Roberto Galeas-Mejia, built a family enterprise through human smuggling operations,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “Thanks to our federal partners at HSI and Border Patrol, along with our state and local law enforcement partners, the Galeas human smuggling business ultimately failed. All five members of the family will serve extensive federal prison sentences, joining many of their co-conspirators after several years of apprehensions and disruption to their efforts.”

“This sentencing is a great example of how HSI uses its agency partnerships to bring criminals to justice in the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee for HSI San Antonio. “The defendants in this case put our national security at risk by illegally bringing people to the U.S. without any inspection. HSI is committed to combatting this type of crime throughout the border.”

HSI investigated the case with valuable assistance from U.S. Border Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety, Maverick County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle Pass Police Department, Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Holly Pavlinski, Antonio Franco and Rex Beasley prosecuted the case.


Updated March 15, 2024

Human Smuggling