LAREDO, Texas – A Dallas man was sentenced Tuesday to more than six years in federal prison for conspiring to transport 126 noncitizens within the United States, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) Laredo Sector assisted in the case.
Jose Luis Ramos Jr., 46, was sentenced Sept. 7 to 80 months in federal prison. His sentence is to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.
At the hearing, the court heard about his prior involvement with a smuggling organization, details of the dangerous and reckless nature of the transportation and the number of noncitizens he attempted to transport. In handing down the sentence, the judge noted his extensive criminal history and that he was not a minor participant in the conspiracy. Ramos pleaded guilty March 15.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, Ramos drove a tractor trailer from Laredo, Texas, and stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint where a service K-9 alerted to the vehicle. Ramos ignored instruction and exited the inspection area, but authorities caught and escorted him back to the checkpoint.
A physical inspection revealed 126 noncitizens inside the trailer, including one unaccompanied minor. The noncitizens were from Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and El Salvador.
Ramos admitted he was hired to drive the tractor trailer from Laredo to San Antonio. During the inspection, authorities discovered that the noncitizens were kept in a sealed trailer where the temperature was 50.7 degrees.
Ramos has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Yoona Lim, of the Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and 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 over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.