Four Extradited Defendants Plead Guilty to Participating in Deadly International Human Smuggling Conspiracy
WASHINGTON – Moayad Heider Mohammad Aldairi, 31, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bring aliens to the United States and a related charge for his role in a scheme to smuggle Yemeni aliens through Mexico to the United States.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney John F. Bash of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Shane M. Folden of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio made the announcement.
According to the plea agreement, during the second half of 2017, Aldairi conspired with others to smuggle at least six Yemeni nationals across the Texas border and into the United States in exchange for a fee. Aldairi admitted his role in transporting the aliens from Monterrey, Mexico to Piedras Negras where he directed them to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States. Aldairi provided construction hard hats and reflective vests to some of the aliens in an effort to enable them to blend in after crossing. Aldairi will be sentenced by the Honorable Alia Moses at a later date.
“When Mohammad Aldairi illegally smuggled multiple Yemeni aliens across our southwest border, he put the security of the United States in peril,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “The Department of Justice cannot — and will not — tolerate such threats to our national security. The Criminal Division remains dedicated to prosecuting alien smugglers, especially criminals like Aldairi who attempt to sneak aliens from countries of interest into the United States.”
“Border security is national security. We simply cannot have an immigration system that allows people from all over the world to enter this country without detection,” said U.S. Attorney Bash. “We must know the identity of every person setting foot on U.S. soil, however they enter.”
"This investigation is a great example of how Homeland Security Investigations uses its worldwide resources, foreign and interagency partnerships to bring international criminals to justice in the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge Folden. “Mohammad Aldairi was a key facilitator and smuggler of Yemeni nationals; the illicit pathway he created into the U.S. is now dismantled.”
“This case is a perfect example of collaboration between different government agencies, making each individual agency more effective than it would be on its own,” said Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz the Del Rio Sector. “The U.S. Border Patrol relies on cooperation with our law enforcement partners to secure our nation’s borders and to protect the communities we live in.”
This case is being investigated by HSI Eagle Pass, with assistance from HSI New York, HSI Monterrey, HSI Jordan, the U.S. Embassy of Jordan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol and FBI San Antonio. The investigation is being conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney James Hepburn of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Watters of the Western District of Texas.