Man Found Guilty of Smuggling Illegal Immigrants from Mexico - South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Man Found Guilty of Smuggling Illegal Immigrants from Mexico to U.S.

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An Austin man was found guilty Tuesday morning of harboring and transporting illegal immigrants into the U.S., following a two-day trial and 45 minutes of deliberation.

Jose Gallegos, 47, was arrested at the Sarita Border Patrol checkpoint Aug. 17, where he was found with a scantily-clad 18-year old woman.

In her testimony during trial, the woman said that Gallegos and his associates were smuggling her from Mexico to New Jersey, and that Gallegos had sexually assaulted her, forced her to wear revealing clothes and receive facial piercings. She testified that she was threatened with death if she disobeyed.

Homeland Security and the U.S. Border Patrol investigated the case, and found that, along with the 18-year old woman, Gallegos had kept other illegal immigrants from Mexico at a motel for two weeks prior to is arrest.

Gallegos defended himself in court, saying that the government was out to get him. The jury found him guilty as charged.

Sentencing will be held at a later date. At that time, Gallegos will face the possibility of serving up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will remain in custody until the sentencing hearing.

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