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Smuggler learns fate for transporting Chinese nationals
Corpus Christi, Texas
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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 50-year-old legal permanent resident from Donna has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction for knowingly and intentionally conspiring to unlawfully transporting undocumented illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.


The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before convicting Federico Espinosa-Flores following a two-day trial Sept. 11.


Today, U.S. District Judge John Rainey ordered him to prison for 21 months to be immediately followed by one year of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the overwhelming amount of evidence against the defendant.


On Dec. 21, 2018, at approximately 7:40 a.m., Espinosa-Flores entered the primary inspection lane of the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint in Sarita driving a white Ford cargo van disguised as an adult daycare business. At that time, authorities noticed him exhibiting signs of nervousness, such as avoiding eye contact and having trembling hands. He consented to a vehicle search which resulted in the discovery of 10 undocumented aliens in the rear cargo area of the vehicle. Six were Chinese nationals and two others were from Mexico and Colombia.


During trial, the defense attempted to convince the jury that authorities coached Espinosa-Flores on what to say in his recorded and detailed confession. They did not believe those claims and found him guilty as charged.


Espinosa-Flores will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance from Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neel Kapur and Lance Watt are prosecuting the case.

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