Three South Texas men were sentenced to federal prison Tuesday following their convictions on conspiracy to kidnap illegal aliens.
This sentencing was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, Southern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Jose Diaz, 42, from Laredo, was sentenced May 2 by U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo to 360 months in federal prison; Angel Alexis Diaz, 20 and Julio Osorio, 42, also from Laredo, received respective sentences of 262 months and 292 months.
All the sentences will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. All three pleaded guilty to the charges Sept. 8, 2016.
“Today’s sentence represents a significant win for the citizens of south Texas and the multiple law enforcement agencies that participated in this robust investigation into human smuggling,” said Shane Folden, special agent in charge, HSI San Antonio.
“HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to target and investigate dangerous members of transnational criminal organizations in an effort to completely dismantle these criminal enterprises and protect people from their violence.”
(Learn More about Human Trafficking. The signs are everywhere, sometimes, you just have to take a second look. Human trafficking is modern day slavery and it happens in our own communities. Your second look could be their second chance. Courtesy of The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and YouTube)
According to court documents, eight Mexican nationals had arranged to be smuggled into the U.S. They claimed that after entering the country, they were transported to a residence in Laredo where they stayed for about two weeks.
They were then transported to a second location where the three defendants then held them against their will, assaulted and extorted them for additional smuggling fees.
Also, they were also forced to undress and were beaten, held hostage and forced to contact family members to pay a ransom.
All three defendants have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher dos Santos, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free ICE tip line at 1 (866) 347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199.
They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.