In a news release, the DOJ said 38-year old Francisco Quintanilla-Alcocer and 21-year-old Brandon Cibriano-Gonzalez, both Mexican citizens, and 23-year-old Orlando Garcia of Mission pleaded guilty on Friday in the courtroom of federal Judge Randy Crane.
According to prosecutors, Cibriano-Gonzalez was a “brush guide” who helped smuggle 10 illegal immigrants into Texas and directed them to a “pick-up location” in Palmview. When Quintanilla-Alcocer and Garcia arrived in two vehicles, Garcia and the illegal aliens left in a convoy.
A car chase occurred when police attempted to stop the two vehicles.
“Garcia turned his vehicle in an attempt to divert law enforcement, while Quintanilla-Alcocer continued to accelerate,” the news release stated, adding that Garcia was on the phone with Quintanilla-Alcocer during the case.
“Quintanilla-Alcocer eventually turned onto a dirt road in Mission where the Chevrolet Impala rolled and crashed into a homeowner’s fence. Authorities located a total of seven individuals on scene. Three had been ejected, two of whom died at the scene.”
Though he initially escaped, Quintanilla-Alcocer was later captured. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25, while Cibriano-Gonzalez and Garcia are set to be sentenced on April 18, the DOJ added. The convicts are in custody pending their sentencing hearings.
The DOJ did not state whether the two Mexican nationals were in the country lawfully at the time the crimes were committed.
Texas lawmakers have proposed bills that would increase the penalties for human smuggling and set mandatory minimum sentences for smuggling activities that result in death or serious bodily injury. While the Legislature is currently in its biennial session, legislators have not yet started debating bills on the floor.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."