ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A Mexican national has plead guilty to charges stemming from his illegal re-entry to the United States and illegal human smuggling.
According to U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, Eliezer Ramos-Arriola, also known as Francisco Gaitan-Arreola and Francisco Gaitan Arreola, plead guilty today in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to charges of illegally re-entering the U.S. without permission and transporting illegal aliens.
Court documents say Ramos-Arriola, a Mexican national, was removed from El Paso, Texas, on April 2, 2018. He never applied for admission to the United States, but was discovered driving a vehicle stopped by law enforcement in Christiansburg on April 4. Inside the car, officers found seven illegal immigrants, including six adult males and one unaccompanied minor female. They were citizens of Mexico and Honduras and also did not have authorization to be in the United States, court documents said.
Ramos-Arriola, Cullen’s office said, had agreed to work for a smuggling service to transport passengers to various U.S. localities, including western Virginia. He was paid $600 to pick up his seven passengers in Phoenix, money which was supposed to feed all seven and pay for fuel to Virginia. The mother of the minor female also paid $4,000 for her child to be brought to Virginia, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
“Human smuggling – particularly when it involves unaccompanied children – is a serious federal crime,” Cullen said in a statement. “I appreciate the commitment and hard work of our partners at the Department of Homeland Security in investigating this case and other criminal violations of our immigration laws.”