South Texas man sentenced for harboring over 200 in inhumane conditions

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 35-year-old Brownsville resident has been ordered to federal prison for harboring illegal citizens within the United States, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Santos De Leon-Cardenas pleaded guilty April 29.

Today, U.S. District Judge Ferando Rodriguez Jr. ordered him to serve a 30-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, Judge Rodriguez noted De Leon-Cardenas harbored 57 non-citizens in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

On March 22, authorities arrived at a hotel room in Brownsville believed to be used to harbor undocumented individuals. They conducted surveillance and were eventually able to apprehend De Leon-Cardenas as well as 57 others, two of whom were unaccompanied minors. De Leon-Cardenas hid them in a single one-bedroom hotel room with little ventilation.

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De Leon-Cardenas will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Cameron County Precinct 2 Constables Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edgardo J. Rodriguez prosecuted the case.

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