A federal court in South Texas sentenced a member of the Mexican Mafia gang to 33 months in prison for his role in a human smuggling scheme. The conviction came from a May 2021 incident where Rafael Alberto Cazarez, Jr. drove 54 migrants trapped inside a tank.
The tanker, driven by Cazarez, approached an immigration checkpoint located west of Laredo, Texas, on May 28, according to court documents reviewed by Breitbart Texas. A Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the possible presence of drug or human cargo coming from the tanker trailer.
Justice is served!
After a guilty plea on July 29, to the charge of conspiracy to transport undocumented migrants within the United States, Rafael Alberto Cazarez Jr. was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
— Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak (@USBPChiefLRT) November 15, 2021
Agents inspected the compartment and found 54 migrants. The migrants had no means of escaping from their captivity in the event of a crash or abandonment.
Cazarez told Border Patrol investigators he is a member of the Mexican Mafia gang, court records revealed. He admitted to at least seven other smuggling incidents where he was paid a flat rate of $50,000 per load.
Homeland Security Investigations special agents utilized some of the migrants packed inside the trailer as material witnesses against the three people involved in the smuggling incident.
The Mexican national pleaded guilty in July and was ordered held in custody pending a November sentencing hearing, the court’s records indicate.
The court sentenced Cazarez, Jr. on November 10, 2021, to spend 33 months in federal prison, the Laredo Morning Times reported.
Also involved in the incident were Ricardo Javier Vela and Jaime Villarreal Vigil who also pleaded guilty in July. They were sentenced in October to 44 months and 33 months respectively, the local news outlet stated.