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McALLEN, Texas — Two Mexican citizens and a U.S. citizen admitted to their roles in a noncitizen smuggling conspiracy that resulted in death after a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Palmview Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety investigation.
Francisco Javier Quintanilla-Alcocer, a 38-year-old Mexican citizen, pleaded guilty March 3. Brandon Cibriano-Gonzalez, a 21-year-old Mexican citizen, and Orlando Andres Garcia, 23, Mission, Texas, had previously admitted their guilt in relation to the scheme.
According to court documents, on Oct. 22, 2021, Cibriano-Gonzalez acted as a brush guide to smuggle a group of 10 noncitizens from Mexico into the United States. He guided them to a pick-up location in Palmview. There, Quintanilla-Alcocer and Garcia arrived in a Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Malibu, respectively. The noncitizens and Cibriano-Gonzalez entered the vehicles and left the scene. Shortly thereafter, law enforcement officials attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but both vehicles failed to yield and a high-speed chase ensued.
Garcia turned his vehicle to divert law enforcement, while Quintanilla-Alcocer accelerated. Quintanilla-Alcocer turned down a dirt road in Mission, where the his vehicle rolled and crashed into a homeowner’s fence. Authorities located a total of seven people on the scene; three were ejected from the vehicle, and two of them died at the scene.
Authorities did not locate Quintanilla-Alcocer at that time. However, evidence in the vehicle led them to him. Phone records also indicate that Quintanilla-Alcocer and Garcia had been consistently communicating throughout the high-speed pursuit. During these conversations, Garcia instructed Quintanilla to go faster.
Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane accepted the pleas and set Quintanilla-Alcocer’s sentencing for May 25, while Cibriano-Gonzalez’s and Garcia’s are set for April 18. All three men face up to life in federal prison. All three remain in custody pending their hearings.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee Fry and Devin Walker, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting the case.
HSI San Antonio continues to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of the people they exploit. To report suspicious smuggling activity, you are urged to call 866-348-2423.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
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