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Texas man sentenced to 18 years for conspiracy to kidnap and transport noncitizen

Human RightsTexas man sentenced to 18 years for conspiracy to kidnap and transport noncitizen

SAN ANTONIO — A judge sentenced Andrew Carrillo, 30, of Von Army, Texas, to 18 years in federal prison on Aug. 2 for one count of conspiracy to kidnap and one count of conspiracy to transport noncitizens resulting in serious bodily injury.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance from the San Antonio Police Department.

The judge sentenced Carrillo to 220 months in a failed human smuggling venture resulting in bodily harm. The judge also ordered him to pay $7,025.78 in restitution. Carrillo pleaded guilty to both counts on Feb. 7, 2023.

“Not only did these human smugglers conspire to undermine our nation’s immigration laws, but they also used intimidation and violence for their own profit,” said HSI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “If you enter into an agreement with a human smuggler, your loved one will not be treated with respect. They will simply be seen as a commodity and will be placed in extreme danger.”

According to court documents, Carrillo was an accomplice to Rosalio Cano Jr. in the smuggling and kidnapping of an undocumented noncitizen in September 2021. After meeting at Cano’s residence, where the kidnapped migrant had been held, Carrillo and Cano drove separately to an Econo Lodge in San Antonio. Carrillo planned to release the kidnapped migrant to their family in exchange for cash in the motel’s parking lot. However, unbeknownst to Carrillo, he and another codefendant, Veronica Ortega, had been communicating and negotiating the migrant’s release with an undercover officer who had accompanied the migrant’s family member to the exchange. After the undercover officer handed Carrillo and Ortega $9,000 in U.S. currency, HSI agents moved in to arrest the three defendants. They took Carrillo and Ortega into custody, while Cano fled and was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service on Oct. 14, 2021.

Cano was sentenced on Dec. 29, 2022, to 190 months in prison and ordered to pay $7,025.78 in restitution. On Jan. 3, 2023, Ortega was sentenced to 60 months of probation and was also ordered to pay $7,025.78 in restitution.

“The penalties in this case reflect the grave dangers of human smuggling,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “While restitution cannot erase the trauma kidnapping victims endure, we hope it will provide some measure of relief. We will not stop working to protect the vulnerable people who are targeted for human smuggling and will continue to aggressively prosecute offenders.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Hail for the Western District of Texas prosecuted the case.

HSI San Antonio continues to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of the people they exploit. To report suspicious smuggling activity, call 866-347-2423.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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