McALLEN–Four Mexican nationals were sentenced to federal prison for harboring undocumented immigrants at stash houses in the Rio Grande Valley
A federal judge sentenced Jose Santos Gomez-Vega of Guerrero and three others Tuesday who were involved in a stash house case in Hidalgo County from two years ago.
In August 2010, agents with Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) initiated surveillance on a residence near Alton believed to be a stash house.
They approached the residence and discovered six undocumented immigrants being harbored by Isidro Cruz, 25, of Michoacán who was arrested.
The agents also discovered ledgers at the residence establishing that more than 100 illegals had been harbored at said residence over the past several months.
Through the course of the investigation, agents identified a second, related house near La Blanca where 32 undocumented immigrants were discovered on Aug. 25, 2010.
Rafael Nunez-Valencia, 22, of Jalisco, and Jose Ruben Ramirez-Hernandez, 28, of Guanajuato, were found at the residence and identified as the caretakers of the illegals and arrested.
Agents found two additional ledgers indicating that more than 100 aliens had been kept at the house.
Gomez-Vega was arrested in October 2010 after agents determined he had actually rented the residence near La Blanca and that he hired the caretakers to maintain the residence for him.
He pleaded guilty to harboring immigrants and for re-entering the country after prior deportation. At the sentencing hearing, it was noted that Gomez-Vega had a prior conviction and was previously sentenced to 30 months for conspiracy to transport an undocumented immigrant in 2008.
On supervised release during commission of this crime, the court found he violated the terms of supervised release and ordered he serve an additional five months to run concurrent with his 92-month sentence imposed in this case.
Cruz was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, while Nunez-Valencia received time served. Ramirez-Hernandez received a sentence of 41 months in addition to a concurrent five-month-term for a revocation of supervised release related to a prior conviction from 2006 for false, fictitious and fraudulent statements.