DOUGLAS, Ariz. — Three Arizona men were indicted Aug. 23 for conspiring to transport and harbor noncitizens for profit as a result of a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation.
According to the indictment, Saul Parra, Patrick Orozco and Rafael Gamez-Ramirez, all from Tucson, began coordinating human smuggling activity around November 2021. Allegedly, Gamez-Ramirez coordinated with Orozco to purchase a parcel of land located in Bisbee to facilitate the transport of undocumented noncitizens into the United States. Orozco bought and placed a recreational vehicle onto the property where undocumented noncitizens waited to be transported.
Law enforcement officers pursued and stopped several vehicles leaving the parcel between November 2021 and January 2022. In December 2021, a driver transporting noncitizens lost control of his vehicle, which resulted in a noncitizen’s death on I-10 near Exit 297. Parra participated in the human smuggling conspiracy by loaning his vehicles to drivers in exchange for payment.
A conviction for conspiring to transport and harbor illegal aliens for profit carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison with three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona in Tucson is handling the prosecution.
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’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.