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Defendant Arrested for Transporting Illegal Aliens; Aliens Have Already Pled Guilty to Unlawful Reentry into United States
Gulfport, Miss. – Beatriz Martinez-Villasana, 29, a citizen of Mexico and a Legal Permanent Resident living in Georgia, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to the crime of Fraud Regarding Visas, Permits, or Other Immigration Document, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Gregory A. Bovino, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector.
Martinez-Villasana is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ozerden on January 11, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release and a maximum $250,000 fine. She also will face Department of Homeland Security removal proceedings.
On July 12, 2018, a Border Patrol agent was observing Interstate 10 as part of the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team, an interagency task force in Jackson County. Around 11:10 p.m., a Toyota Corolla that had been identified in Border Patrol intelligence data passed his position on I-10 eastbound. As he neared the vehicle, the agent noticed two occupants slumping down, and he thereafter conducted a traffic stop.
The driver, Martinez-Villasana, was arrested for transporting illegal aliens, and both passengers were arrested for being in the United States illegally. Both passengers pled guilty earlier this month of the felony offense of Illegal Return of an Alien after Removal. Both are awaiting sentencing in U.S. District Court in January 2019.
Also found in Martinez-Villasana’s possession was a fraudulent Legally Admitted Permanent Resident Alien Identification Card and a fraudulent Social Security Card. Both cards were in the name of an illegal alien to the United States who
was incarcerated in the State of Georgia on state offenses. Both cards included identification numbers that had been stolen from two victims for whom the numbers had been lawfully assigned by the United States Government. Ms. Martinez-Villasana admitted that she knew the documents were false and that she had been helping the illegal alien named on the cards, who was her friend. She also admitted to unlawfully transporting her two illegal alien passengers and all of her relevant conduct may be used in determining her sentence in federal court.
U.S. Attorney Hurst commended the work of the United States Border Patrol and the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team Interagency Task Force.
Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.