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Traffic Stops Leads to Smuggling Case

KSAL Staff - March 29, 2017 11:59 am

A traffic stop along Interstate 70 in Ellsworth County prompted arrests in connection with alleged alien smuggling.

According to the U.S Attorney’s Office in Wichita, six men from Mexico were indicted Tuesday in a case of alleged alien smuggling.

Adrian Guzman-Rojas, 19, a citizen of Mexico, was charged with one count of knowingly transporting Mexican citizens who were not lawfully in the United States.

In court documents, investigators alleged that on March 10, 2017, Guzman-Rojas was driving a 2012 Buick Enclave when the Kansas Highway Patrol stopped him on Interstate 70 near Ellsworth, Kan. It is alleged that five men in the car with Guzman-Rojas were Mexican citizens who previously had been deported and who had returned to the United States unlawfully.

Charged with one count each of illegally re-entering the United States are the following:

Mario Esqivel-Garduno, 38, Ernesto Galeno-Castillo, 36, Juan Gonzalez-Vicente, 20, Manuel Luna-Macin, 31, and Alejandro Villa-Maldonado, 27, all citizens of Mexico.

Investigators allege Guzman-Rojas was being paid by smugglers in Phoenix.

Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:

  • Unlawful transportation of undocumented aliens: Up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to$250,000
  • Un-lawful re-entry: Up to two years and a fine up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by the Kansas Highway Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson.