MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Mission man has been ordered to federal prison for conspiring to smuggle migrants into the United States resulting in one death, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
Julio Garza IV, 22, pleaded guilty on Feb. 15.
On April 15, 2021, authorities conducted a routine traffic stop on a tan Ford Taurus traveling on US Highway 281 near Falfurrias.
When the vehicle stopped, multiple people got out and fled, causing one Honduran man to get hit by a passing box truck, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The man was later pronounced dead.
During an investigation, it was revealed Garza hired the driver to take the migrants from Edinburg to a designated location south of the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint.
It was later revealed that Garza had sent an audio recording, text messages and GPS coordinates to direct the operation.
The U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Garza to serve 45 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervision.
“In handing down the sentence, the court commented on how it was important to remember someone died,” U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani said. “The individual may have fled, but Garza was still accountable for a death.”
Garza will remain in custody pending his transfer to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.