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Press Release

Illegal Alien Smuggler Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison

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

In Del Rio yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced 43–year–old citizen of Mexico Hector Aguilar-Portugal to ten years imprisonment for his role in an illegal alien smuggling operation that resulted in death, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden; and, U.S. Border Patrol Agent in Charge Felix Chavez, Del Rio Sector.

On August 10, 2017, Aguilar pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.  According to court records, in October 2014, Aguilar led three other illegal aliens into the U.S. north of Eagle Pass, Texas.  Among the group was a former inmate Aguilar-Portugal had met while in prison in Pecos, TX, in 2012, as well as the man’s nephew.  During their journey, the four were intercepted by U.S. Border Patrol agents.  As they fled from the agents, the defendant and the others crossed a canal.  During the crossing, the nephew drowned.  Following the drowning, the uncle separated from the defendant and the other illegal alien.  The uncle eventually made it to a highway where he surrendered to Border Patrol agents and told them of the drowning.  Agents were able to recover the body of the deceased.  Agents were also able to arrest the defendant and the other illegal alien.  While at the Eagle Pass South Border Patrol station, the uncle saw Aguilar-Portugal being escorted into the processing area.  The uncle identified Aguilar-Portugal as the individual he paid a $500 smuggling fee up front and an agreed $3,000 upon arrival in the U.S.

On December 15, 2015, the uncle was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for illegal re-entry into the U.S.  The other illegal alien pleaded guilty to illegal entry into the U.S., was sentenced to time served and deported back to Mexico.

HSI conducted this investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Keagle prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

Updated November 20, 2018

Human Smuggling