Mexican Jailed For Operating Large-Scale Human Smuggling Ring

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News Americas SHREVEPORT, Louisiana, Tues. April 14, 2015:  A Mexican-born undocumented immigrant will spend the next 14 plus years of his life in jail for operating a large-scale human smuggling ring from his residence in Bossier City.

The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Shreveport and HSI Phoenix.

Otoniel Galindo Vasquez-Lopez, 29, of Bossier City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow in Phoenix to almost 15 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for his role as the leader of an Arizona-based alien smuggling organization that illegally moved hundreds of aliens across the southern border into Arizona and then transferred them throughout the Southeast to multiple cities in Tennessee.

According to court documents, Vasquez-Lopez previously admitted in his guilty plea that he employed and directed money launderers and alien smugglers in Arizona, and coordinated the transportation and payment from his location in Bossier City. Vasquez-Lopez pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

After an initial investigation by HSI Shreveport that identified the residence and vehicles being used by the smuggling ring, investigators coordinated with HSI Phoenix special agents for additional information and ultimately determined Vasquez-Lopez was the leader of the operation that has resulted in the arrest and conviction of more than 30 individuals in Arizona.

The length of Vasquez-Lopez’s sentence reflects that multiple undocumented immigrants died in his custody while being transported to destinations in the United States. Specifically, in July 2012 two illegal aliens transported by Vasquez-Lopez’s alien smugglers were killed in a roll-over vehicle crash in Holbrook, Arizona, after being ejected from a Dodge minivan that was overloaded with 15 people.

In June 2012 Vasquez-Lopez’s name and telephone number were also found in the pocket of a deceased alien who died in the desert near Sells, Arizona, after being left behind by his guides when he could not keep up.