Honduran man convicted of human smuggling

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HOUSTON – A 42-year-old man has been convicted of human smuggling, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Authorities said on Nov. 14, Ivis Orestes Irias-Romero drove a truck into the primary inspection area at the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint near Sarita. He had a female riding as a passenger.

Irias-Romero said he was from Honduras and showed his immigration card. However, the female did not respond when asked about her status. Instead, Irias-Romero claimed she was his wife and produced a copy of a marriage license certificate, authorities said.

Authorities then asked the woman again, this time in Spanish. She admitted she was a Honduran citizen unlawfully living in Houston. She testified at trial and said she met Irias-Romero four years prior while on Facebook. She added that she had unsuccessfully tried several times to enter the United States, but finally made it in November 2020. She then contacted Irias-Romero who agreed to travel to Brownsville to pick her up and bring her to Houston.

Sentencing is set for July 14. Irias-Romero faces up to five years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.