A previously deported undocumented immigrant from Guatemala has entered a plea of guilty to harboring illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Alberto Martinez-Vasquez, 26, was convicted today as he appeared in federal court before U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore.
The case was initiated Sept. 10, 2015, when law enforcement responded to a loud notice complaint at a residence on the 9800 block of Gillman Street in Houston. The location was quickly identified as a stash house. Inside, officers observed 16 undocumented immigrants in their underwear, three of whom were women and one who was a minor.
As the officers arrived on the scene, Martinez-Vasquez attempted to flee, but was soon apprehended. Evidence showed that Martinez-Vasquez harbored the 16 undocumented immigrants at that location and charged a fee of $200 per week. He would collect their clothes upon their arrival and would not return them or permit them to leave until their family members made the required payments.
Martinez-Vasquez will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, set for Jan. 25, 2015. At that time, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
The charges were the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Goldman is prosecuting the case.