Cesar Avila, 38, was sentenced Nov. 5 to 420 months in prison and ordered him to pay a $1,000 special assessment fee by U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal.
Additional testimony was presented by one of two female victims who
Trial testimony showed that on Aug. 19, 2011, the
HPD officers eventually located the residence on the 100 block of
Several of the aliens who were held hostage also identified Carlos Martinez-Aguilar, 44, an illegal alien from
One of the victims advised officers he had been in the
The mother of one of the victims testified at trial that she and her family had been contacted by smugglers demanding more money and threatening her son's life, as well as the life of her family if the additional money was not paid. She was so frightened she contacted police who conducted surveillance to protect them. Her daughter also testified that the family raised money by borrowing it from friends, and they sent as much money as they could via wire transfer to smugglers in
Martinez-Aguilar was previously sentenced to 36 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to one count of harboring illegal aliens.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Searle and Douglas Davis, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.