Two Guatemalan Nationals plead guilty to human smuggling conspiracy




  • In US
  • 2022-10-01 00:05:00Z
  • By Odessa American, Texas

Sep. 30-Two men from Guatemala are facing life in prison after pleading guilty in federal court Thursday to conspiracy to transport and harbor aliens for financial gain and resulting in death.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, a woman from Guatemala was found dead in a remote area just outside of Odessa in May 2021.

On Aug. 23, 2021, Armando Gael-Galicia, 26, and Jose Diego Tercel-Gonzalez, 22, were arrested on Coyochic Avenue in Odessa where the woman had been taken and died. Inside the trailer were other migrants, detailed ledgers and more than 100 cell phones, the news release stated.

The two men admitted they'd operated an alien smuggling organization and were responsible for transporting the woman who'd died, according to the news release.

Four other men were arrested by Guatemalan authorities in August and are accused of charging migrants and their families $10,000 to $12,000 to help them travel from Guatemala through Mexico into the United States, according to the news release.

The U.S. intends to extradite the men and Gael-Galicia and Tercel0-Gonzalez are alleged to have been part of the same group.

"I am incredibly thankful for the collaborative law enforcement efforts that resulted in these guilty pleas," said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff for the Western District of Texas. "Not only are they indicative of joint efforts to hold callous human smugglers accountable, but they also demonstrate our firm commitment to ensuring all victims receive justice."

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