Human Smuggler Pleads Guilty to Operating Phoenix Stash House

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Aerial view of mega shopping mall in Scottsdale, desert city in Arizona east of state capital Phoenix. Downtowns Old Town Scottsdale. Phoneix, USA November, 25th, 2019

TUCSON, Ariz. –Macario Ulises Barragan-Cisneros, 45, of Mexico, pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday in connection with his role as the operator of a human smuggling stash house located in Phoenix, Arizona.

Barragan-Cisneros admitted that he conspired to transport and harbor illegal aliens for profit. On September 21, 2021, Barragan-Cisneros was arrested inside a trailer at the Camino Vista Mobile Home Park located at 6532 West Van Buren Street. The trailer was used to conceal undocumented noncitizens as part of a transnational human smuggling operation in which foreign nationals were smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border near Nogales, Arizona and transported to Phoenix. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations and United States Border Patrol located a total of 29 smuggled individuals, all citizens of Mexico or Guatemala, in or around the trailer.

Sentencing is set before U.S. District Judge Scott H. Rash on January 10, 2022. A conviction for Conspiracy to Transport and Harbor Illegal Aliens for Profit carries a maximum penalty of ten years, a maximum fine of $250,000, or both.

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Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations – Nogales Office, with assistance from United States Border Patrol – Nogales Station, conducted the investigation in this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

This case resulted from the efforts of the Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA), which was established by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in June 2021 to marshal the investigative and prosecutorial resources of the Department of Justice, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to enhance U.S. enforcement efforts against the most prolific and dangerous human smuggling and trafficking groups operating in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The Task Force focuses on disrupting and dismantling smuggling and trafficking networks that abuse, exploit, or endanger migrants, pose national security threats, and are involved in organized crime. JTFA consists of federal prosecutors and attorneys from U.S. Attorney’s Offices along the Southwest Border (District of Arizona, Southern District of California, Southern District of Texas, and Western District of Texas), from the Criminal Division and the Civil Rights Division, along with law enforcement agents and analysts from DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. The FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration are also part of the Task Force.

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CASE NUMBER:            CR-21-1341-TUC-SHR-MSA

RELEASE NUMBER:    2021-071_Barragan-Cisneros

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