LAREDO, TEXAS – A 28-year-old Laredoan has been ordered to federal prison for conspiring to transport illegal aliens, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Jose Maria Ramirez pleaded guilty Nov. 24, 2020, while co-conspirator Eloy Martinez-Carranza entered a guilty plea Dec. 8, 2020.
Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered Ramirez to serve a 57-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted how Ramirez has repeatedly broken the law and has had his supervised release revoked multiple times. Judge Marmolejo further explained there was sufficient evidence to show he was heavily involved in the conspiracy and was correctly held accountable for the aliens in the tractor-trailer as well as the stash house.
Martinez-Carranza, 35, of South Carolina, received his sentence April 30. Judge Marmolejo ordered him to 36 months in prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.
On Oct. 1, 2020, Martinez-Carranza approached the US-83 Border Patrol checkpoint driving a semi-truck and trailer. Soon after his arrival, a K-9 alerted to the presence of contraband in the trailer.
Authorities cut the seal on the trailer and found 40 illegal aliens, including three unaccompanied minors. The inside temperature was approximately 109 degrees. Law enforcement also observed coffee grounds scattered around the trailer.
Martinez-Carranza claimed he was traveling to Laredo from South Carolina to work as a trucker. However, he did not have a commercial driver’s license or any training as such.
Upon further investigation, authorities identified a location suspected to be the stash house for the illegal aliens. Law enforcement conducted surveillance and stopped a vehicle leaving the house with Ramirez as the driver.
Authorities searched the home and found a total of 22 illegal aliens, including more unaccompanied minors.
Ramirez has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.