Illegal Alien Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Smuggle Other Illegal Aliens


From:  News Release   1/21/18  GCN


Gulfport, Miss. – Luis Enrique Moran-Vargaz, 37, a citizen of Mexico, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens within the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Joseph Banco, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.


Moran-Vargaz will be sentenced by Judge Ozerden on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. He faces a potential maximum 10 years imprisonment, not more than 3 years supervised release, a maximum $250,000 fine, and special assessments that could total $5,100.


On November 28, 2017, a truck driven by Moran-Vargaz was stopped by a Gautier police officer on Interstate-10 in Jackson County, Mississippi, for speeding. While the truck was designed to seat five people, the police officer observed that, in addition to the driver, there were six additional people in the vehicle. These passengers provided Mexican identification documents and they could not be identified by Moran-Vargaz. The U.S. Border Patrol was notified, and a Border Patrol Agent responded to the scene.


During the investigation, it was determined that none of the passengers had proper documentation and all were illegally present in the United States. The six passengers were being smuggled by Moran-Vargaz, whom also was determined to be an illegal alien. All occupants of the vehicle were arrested. Moran-Vargaz confirmed that he knew his passengers were illegal aliens and admitted that he was being paid to transport them from Texas.


"This office will aggressively pursue individuals whom perpetuate and exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration in this country by attempting to profit from human smuggling. Our local and federal law enforcement officers should be commended for their cooperative efforts in this case. It is only through our work together that the American public is best served, the rule of law is upheld, and justice is done," said U.S. Attorney Hurst.


New Orleans Sector Border Patrol Chief Joseph Banco stated: "The New Orleans Border Patrol Sector’s efforts with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners reduces the ability of criminal organizations to exploit transportation routes within the area and degrades their ability to conduct criminal acts."


U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the cooperation exhibited by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Gautier Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.