Two Guatemalan Nationals Plead Guilty to Human Smuggling Conspiracy Resulting in 2021 Death of Migrant in Odessa, Texas

On Thursday, Guatemalan citizens Armando Gale-Galicia aka Artemio Diego Andres González and Luis Moreno-González, 26, and Jose Diego Tercero-González, 22, both living in Texas, filed a petition in federal court in the Western District of Texas. convicted in Conspiracy to transport and shelter aliens for financial gain and resulting in death. Upon conviction, each would face the statutory maximum sentence of life in prison.

In early May 2021, the body of a young indigenous Guatemalan woman Was discovered in a remote area outside Odessa, Texas. On August 23, 2021, Gail-Galicia and Tercero-González were arrested in Odessa at or near 910 Koyochik Avenue, the location of the trailer where the victim was taken and died. Inside the trailer were additional migrants who had entered the country illegally, detailed ledger books, and more than 100 cell phones. According to their guilty pleas, the defendants admitted that they operated a prolific foreign smuggling organization and were responsible for the transportation of the migrant who died.

The investigation was conducted by 38-year-old Felipe Diego Alonzo alias Ceat; relating to the recent indictment and arrest of; Neslie Norberto Martinez Gomez aka Canche, 37; Lopez Mateo Mateo aka Bud Light, 42; and Juan Gutierrez Castro aka Andres, 45; In Guatemala in August 2022. Those defendants allegedly conspired with other smugglers to facilitate the travel of large numbers of migrants from Guatemala through Mexico, and eventually, into the United States, about $10,000 in perilous travel from migrants and their families. Charged from $12,000. In addition to the copious smuggling of migrants into the United States, human traffickers targeted in the August 2022 operation are believed to be responsible for the deaths of a single indigenous Guatemalan woman transported by Gail-Galicia and Tercero-González. Guatemalan authorities arrested Diego Alonzo, Martínez Gómez, Mateo Mateo and Gutierrez Castro as requested by the United States for their extradition.

Polite, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said, “Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA) was created to investigate and prosecute international networks responsible for dangerous human trafficking activities that exploit and victimize migrants.” We do.” “Through extensive coordination with our U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement partners, yesterday’s guilty pleas emphasize the broader mission of the JTFA in its efforts to hold accountable all those who treat human life as a commodity.” leaves no stone unturned.”

“I am incredibly grateful for the collaborative law enforcement efforts that resulted in these guilty pleas,” said Ashley C. Hoff, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. “They are not only a sign of joint efforts to hold hardened human traffickers accountable, but they also demonstrate our steadfast commitment to ensuring that all victims get justice.”

Steve Francis, Acting Executive Associate Director of Homeland Security Investigations, said, “While this sentencing is a significant victory for law enforcement agencies and task force partners, it is equally important to acknowledge the conclusion of justice and equality that it serves to the families of the victims.” And brings friends.” (HSI). “Human traffickers who conspire to undermine federal laws for profit have no regard for human lives and combating this horrific crime of exploitation is one of our agency’s top priorities. Rest assured, HSI’s specials Agents will continue to use their broad authority and international footprint to identify, investigate and disrupt domestic and international criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking operations around the world.

“International criminal organizations exert an advantage over human life,” said CBP Deputy Commissioner Troy Miller. “CBP has dedicated significant time, effort and resources to strike at the heart of this problem through engaging in initiatives such as Joint Task Force Alpha. These partnerships are vital to disrupting criminals who prey on vulnerable individuals. “

The investigation was coordinated under the Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA). The JTFA was created in June 2021 by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to build on the department’s overall efforts to combat these crimes based on the increase in rampant and dangerous trafficking emanating from Central America. to strengthen and influence our influence. border community. JTFA aims to disrupt and destroy human trafficking and trafficking networks operating in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, focusing on networks that endanger, abuse, or abuse migrants. exploit, pose a national security risk, or engage in other types of activities. International Organized Crime.

Since its creation, the JTFA has successfully increased coordination and cooperation between the Department of Justice, DHS, and other inter-agency law enforcement participants and foreign law enforcement partners including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico; Targeted organizations that have the most influence in the United States, and coordinated significant trafficking indictments and extradition efforts at U.S. Attorney’s offices across the country. To date, the JTFA’s work with its partners has resulted in criminal charges and over a hundred domestic and international arrests, including leaders, organizers and important facilitators of human trafficking activities; several dozen punishments; Significant prison sentence given; and substantial property confiscation. The JTFA includes the Southwest Frontier U.S. Attorney’s Office, which includes the Southern District of Texas, the Western District of Texas, the District of New Mexico, the District of Arizona, and the Southern District of California, and has dedicated support for the program of the Criminal Division. Also provided by several components that are part of the JTFA – led by the Human Rights and Special Prosecution Section (HRSP), and supported by the Office of Prosecution Development, Support and Training (OPDAT), the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. (NDDS), the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), the Office of Enforcement Operations (OEO), the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs (OIA), and the Organized Crime and Gangs Section (OCGS). JTFA is made possible by substantial law enforcement investment from DHS, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other partners.

HSI Midland led the US investigative effort, working closely with HSI Guatemala and the HSI Human Trafficking Unit in Washington, DC HSI was assigned to the US Immigration and Customs (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, US Customs and Border Protection’s national The targeting helped a lot. Centre/Operation Sentinel; US Border Patrol; US Marshals Service; Odessa and Midland Police Department; Texas Department of Public Safety; and Actors County, Midland County, and Crane County Sheriff’s Offices. The Justice Department thanks Guatemalan law enforcement, who were instrumental in advancing this investigation.

The case is being handled by HRSP’s JTFA Co-Director James Hepburn and the Western District of Texas and JTFA Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Fedock and Jose Luis Acosta, assisted by HRSP historian/Latin America expert Joanna Crandall and money laundering and asset recovery. Is. Section trial attorney Daria Andryashchenko. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the Office of Foreign Prosecution Development, Assistance and Training provided significant support.

The allegations contained in the indictment are only allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

Leave a Comment