Ricardo Salazar-Mendoza was sentenced by Judge David S. Morales in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi. Authorities say the 39-year-old is likely to be deported after completing his prison sentence.
“Between March 2019 and August 2019, Salazar-Mendoza and his two brothers — Juan Carlos Salazar Mendoza, 38, and Alejandro Salazar-Mendoza, 43 — operated an alien smuggling organization,” the Justice Department said in a press release.
“Juan Carlos received aliens who had crossed the border illegally, housed them and hired drivers to get them past the checkpoint. The aliens were hidden in dangerous places such as in motorhomes or secret compartments under vehicles.”
Federal prosecutors say Salazar-Mendoza exhibited a weapon and abducted at least one illegal immigrant.
The Justice Department says Ricardo ran a stash house, and that 64 illegal immigrants, including an unaccompanied minor, were discovered by authorities at the Sarita Border Patrol Checkpoint in connection with the three brothers’ scheme.
“Ricardo operated at least one stash house for the organization in which aliens were housed while the brothers awaited smuggling fees and made smuggling arrangements to get the aliens through the checkpoint,” the press release stated.
John Carlos was sentenced to 108 months of incarceration, while Alejandro Salazar-Mendoza is serving an 80-month sentence.
In related news, two Texas men were also sentenced on Wednesday to 188-month and 151-month prison terms for the death of a woman that occurred while the convicts were smuggling illegal immigrants in the McAllen area.