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Three Individuals Plead Guilty in Human Smuggling Linked to Mexican Cartel

Three individuals, Bernardo Aniceto Garza (26) and Francisco Suarez (19) of Laredo, along with Mexican citizen Luis Daniel Segura Guzman (25), have pleaded guilty to charges related to a human smuggling conspiracy associated with the Cartel del Noreste (CDN). The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

The charges against the trio include conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens. The case unfolded when, on August 23, 2023, authorities discovered a Facebook post advertising transportation services for undocumented aliens through sleeper cabs of tractor trailers. An undercover investigation revealed that Luis Daniel Segura Guzman coordinated the transportation of three undocumented aliens for approximately $8,000.

Law enforcement intervened when a black Ford Raptor, driven by Bernardo Aniceto Garza, arrived at the meet location in Laredo. Undercover officers contacted Segura to cancel the pickup, after which Garza left and picked up three other individuals from a nearby parking lot. These individuals were later discovered to be citizens of Mexico and El Salvador, illegally present in the United States. A firearm was also found inside Garza's vehicle.

Upon apprehending Segura on September 16, 2023, authorities identified him as a Mexican citizen illegally present in the United States. Segura admitted to being recruited by the CDN in Mexico for alien smuggling and revealed collaboration with Suarez. A cell phone found in Segura's possession was logged into the Facebook account used for advertising and coordinating the smuggling event.

Francisco Suarez was apprehended separately on September 19, 2023, during another smuggling attempt, where he was acting as a scout. Suarez admitted working for Garza and providing the three migrants caught in the August 23 incident.

“The cartels are increasing the use of social media as part of their illegal business model,” said Hamdani. “Applications, such as Facebook, allow these organizations to advertise human smuggling services to large audiences along the U.S. border. In this case, the Facebook ads helped facilitate the transportation of women and children by smugglers armed with dangerous weapons.”

The three defendants face potential sentencing of up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana will determine sentencing at a later date. Suarez and Guzman will remain in custody, while Garza has been permitted to remain on bond.

The investigation was conducted by the Laredo Police Department, Border Patrol, and Homeland Security Investigations, as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program. The OCDETF program aims to identify, disrupt, and dismantle high-level criminal organizations threatening the United States through a multi-agency approach. 

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