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Latino Daily News

Saturday December 11, 2010

Illegal Aliens Sentenced to 2-to-4 Years for Causing Death of Immigrant They Were Smuggling

Two illegal aliens from Mexico were sentenced this week to 27 and 51 months imprisonment, respectively, for conspiring to transport and harbor an illegal alien within the United States resulting in his death. The sentences were announced by U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno.

Aburto-Gamino, 48, and Guzman-Villa, 28, pleaded guilty to the felony immigration offense on June 16. At that hearing, the government established that relatives and friends of the victim received a series of phone calls from alien smugglers demanding the payment of smuggling fees for him and also informed them that he was very ill. On April 27, 2009, the Texas County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call that a body had been found and upon inspecting the body, a Honduran driver’s license was found identifying the deceased.

Immigration agents initiated an investigation based on information collected from phone numbers used by the smugglers, leading to surveillance at a trailer park in Texas. Inside the trailer, agents discovered a “pollo” list, a slang term used to describe ledgers used by alien smugglers about smuggled aliens, contact numbers to obtain smuggling fees, and fees paid to the smugglers. The list contained the names of 27 illegally smuggled aliens. A pistol and numerous cell phones were also discovered.

Subsequent interviews with several of the defendants determined that the victim was brought to the location by an unidentified smuggler and that he was extremely ill on arrival. Aburto purchased a drink for the victim who drank it, went into a bathroom, collapsed and died. The Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy but was unable to determine the cause of death.  Through the interviews with the aliens, Guzman-Villa was identified as having been an alien smuggler for at least two years with his wife, Cuadros, and stepfather, Aburto-Gamino. It was also determined that Guzman-Villa dumped the victim’s body on the side of the road.

Cuadros has already pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 13.  Aburto was charged with misprision of a felony and was sentenced on Aug. 20, to time served, about 15 months. He has been placed into deportation proceedings. Both Aburto-Gamino and Guzman-Villa face deportation after they complete their sentences.