HOUSTON - The final two men arrested in connection with transporting illegal aliens were ordered to federal prison.
United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson and Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, made the announcement on Thursday.
They say Jose Aviles-Villa, 32, and Antonio Barruquet-Hildeberta, 46, were arrested in March 2014 after more than 100 illegal aliens were found in an area stash house.
They pleaded guilty just one month after their arrests as did Jonathan Solorzano-Tavila, 30, Jose Cesmas-Borja, 26, and Eugenio Sesmas-Borja, 20. All are from Michoacan, Mexico.
They were all convicted of conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal handed Aviles-Villa and Barruquet-Hildeberta respective sentences of 51 and 63 months in federal prison for the conspiracy charge. They were also ordered to serve consecutive 60-month sentences for the use of a firearm.
Solorzano-Tavila, Sesmas-Borja and Cesmas-Borja were previously sentenced to 60, 54 and 51 months in federal prison for the conspiracy charge in addition to consecutive 60-month sentences for the use of a firearm. As illegal aliens, they are all expected to face deportation proceedings following release from prison.
The five men were arrested March 19, 2014 when 115 illegal aliens were discovered in a house on Almeda School Road in Houston.
The convicted smugglers admitted they obtained substantial profits as a result of the conspiracy. They had established networks that brought the aliens into the U.S. illegally across the Southwest border.
The illegal aliens were then held in stash houses while the smugglers arranged payment of remaining smuggling fees from their families.
While in the stash house, the conspirators seized the victim aliens' clothes, shoes, phones and other possessions. The conspirators used guns, paddles, tasers, and other equipment to control and prevent the illegal aliens from escaping from the stash house.
They guarded the aliens with guns displayed in plain view and threatened to kill them by shooting them in the back of the head if they tried to escape.
In one specific instance, the conspirators contacted the mother of one of the stashed aliens and told her to pay an additional $13,000 for the victim and her two children. She was advised that if she did not pay, they would "make her family disappear and make her family pay."
They will all remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case was investigated by HSI with the assistance of the Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorne Julie Searle and Special AUSA Rick Bennett are prosecuting.
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