LAREDO, Texas – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against four area residents on charges of conspiracy to transport 61 undocumented aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Octavio Ramirez, 27, Juan Antonio Carranco Jr., 26, San Juana Guadalupe Juarez-Flores, 39, and Alina Rodriguez, 20, were all originally charged via criminal complaint. They are expected to appear for their arraignments on the charges in the indictment before a U.S. magistrate judge in the near future.
Ramirez, Carranco and Rodriguez are U.S. citizens. Ramirez resided in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, while other two resided in Laredo. Juarez-Flores is a Mexican national who resides in Laredo.
On Oct. 23, law enforcement set up surveillance at the intersection of North Smith Avenue and Green Street in Laredo, according to the complaint. Authorities allegedly witnessed Ramirez arrive at the location and either direct or escort aliens into the back of a nearby parked tractor-trailer multiple times.
Throughout the evening, Carranco, Juarez-Flores and Rodriguez all also arrived at the location, dropped off aliens in their personal vehicle and then left the scene, according to the charges.
Law enforcement ultimately apprehended a total of 61 undocumented aliens from various countries including Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras at the location.
If convicted, each faces up to 10 years in prison as well as a possible $250,000 fine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance from Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, FBI and the Webb County Constable’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Bajew is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.