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2015-12-03

Mexican national faces federal prison in death of illegal alien

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A 32-year-old man from Mexico has been ordered to prison after knowingly transporting an illegal alien within the United States for private financial gain, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Victor Manuel Moreno-Ruiz pleaded guilty on Sept. 2, after admitting that a female illegal alien died during the course of an illegal conduct.
On Monday, Nov. 23, US District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Moreno-Ruiz a 150-month sentence. At the hearing, additional evidence was presented including testimony from the case agent and the autopsy report.
The agent testified that he had interviewed one of the undocumented aliens who were part of a group that Moreno-Ruiz was smuggling in August 2014. The undocumented alien reported that he witnessed a woman from the group fall off the bridge near the Pharr Port of Entry and land on the ground underneath. Unable to move due to her severe injuries, Moreno-Ruiz then ordered two other undocumented aliens to move the woman from the main road to a brushy area so as not to compromise the smuggling route.
The next day, law enforcement officers discovered the deceased body of the female victim. An autopsy revealed she had died as a result of blunt force trauma due to a fall.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted that Moreno-Ruiz had displayed a complete and callous disregard for the life of this woman.
Moreno-Ruiz will remain in custody pending transfer to a US Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. As an illegal alien himself, Moreno-Ruiz is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.
The charges were the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations with assistance by Border Patrol, Pharr Police Department and Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office. Assistant US Attorneys Kimberly Ann Leo and Alex Benavides prosecuted the case.
"This sentence clearly illustrates the serious consequences faced by those who attempt to make money by exploiting others," said Special Agent in Charge Shane M. Folden, HSI San Antonio. "Human smugglers show a callous disregard for the value of life. Because of this, we will continue to aggressively pursue these alien smugglers who put the lives of others in jeopardy for financial gain."