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Corpus Christi News

Mission Man Sentenced for Role in Illegal Alien Transportation Conspiracy

Daniel Cantu Jr., a 30-year-old resident of Mission, has been sentenced for his involvement in a conspiracy to transport non-U.S. citizens via commercial tractor-trailers, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Cantu pleaded guilty on August 23, 2022, and was scheduled for sentencing in late 2023, but failed to appear, remaining a fugitive until February. U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton has now ordered Cantu to serve a total of 110 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.

During the hearing, evidence was presented revealing Cantu's direct involvement in the transportation of over 65 individuals via commercial tractor-trailers in 2021. The court also heard that Cantu continued his involvement in criminal activity in the Rio Grande Valley, including additional attempts at alien transportation while on bond.

Hamdani emphasized the seriousness of the offense, highlighting the large number of undocumented individuals the organization attempted to smuggle into the United States and the dangerous methods employed.

The organization, responsible for transporting over 200 aliens from South Texas further into the United States, coordinated smuggling attempts intercepted by law enforcement from August 2021 through December 2021. Four men, including Cantu, were identified as responsible for coordinating these events, finding trucks, trailers, drivers, and loading vehicles with undocumented aliens.

Jose Guadalupe Garcia Jr., 23, and Jesus Francisco Mares, 23, previously received 36 and 15 months, respectively, while Jose Antonio Cardona, 30, is currently a fugitive with an outstanding arrest warrant.

Cantu will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined soon.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Marshals Service.

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