DENVER, CO – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – Troy Eid, United…

DENVER, CO – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – Troy Eid, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, and Jeffrey Copp, Special Agent in Charge of the Denver office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced that three defendants were sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Court Judge Edward W. Nottingham for smuggling and harboring illegal aliens. Judge Nottingham sentenced MOISES RODRIGUEZ, of Hudson, Colorado, to time served (11 months total). MOISES’ wife MARIA RODRIGUEZ, was also sentenced by Judge Nottingham to time served (11 months total). Both were then ordered to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for deportation proceedings. The couple’s son, JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, was sentenced to serve 3 years of probation, with the first 6 months under home detention. He was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.

According to the stipulated facts as outlined in the three defendants’ plea agreements, based on a tip, in October 2004, special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement initiated a criminal investigation into an illegal labor camp being run at a ranch in Hudson, Colorado. The investigation revealed that aliens in Mexico would contact the lead defendant, MOISES RODRIGUEZ, through an intermediary, expressing their desire to be smuggled into the United States. The aliens were instructed to make contact with a smuggler (known as a coyote), near the Mexican-United States border.

After the aliens were smuggled into the United States, MOISES RODRIGUEZ, along with his son JAVIER, would drive them to Hudson, Colorado. Once in Hudson, the illegal aliens would be required to work for MOISES and his wife, MARIA RODRIGUEZ, at various local farms. The aliens would typically pay a $1,100 to $1,300 “smuggling fee” which was taken out of their “pay” until the entire amount was paid in full. JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, along with an already sentenced and deported co-defendant, IGNACIO GERMAN JUAREZ, lived with the aliens at a barracks style building, and supervised the workers. MARIA RODRIGUEZ managed the books, while MOISES oversaw the operation.

The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on October 17, 2005. MOISES, MARIA, and JAVIER RODRIGUEZ each pled guilty to harboring and smuggling charges on May 19, 2006.

As part of the plea agreement, the defendants have agreed to allow the government forfeit the 9.14 acre property, including the housing barracks and equipment located on the property. Over $128,000 in cash was also seized, as well as money in a bank account, which the defendants agreed to forfeit.

“Colorado is not a way station for misery,” United States Attorney Troy Eid said. “The fact that people were having to work off their smuggling debt in less than idea living and working conditions makes this crime reprehensible.” Eid also praised the prosecutor and agents who worked on this case. “I want to thank Assistant United States Attorneys Greg Holloway and Jim Russell, as well as the many ICE agents that worked tirelessly on this case,” U.S. Attorney Eid said.

“Moises Rodriquez operated a ‘one-stop shopping’ approach to human smuggling,” said Jeffrey Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. “He arranged for illegal aliens to be smuggled into the United States, and then housed them in barracks on his Hudson, Colorado, land where they could work for him in the fields. This elaborate organization was created solely for his own profit and benefit. Today’s imposed prison sentences show that Rodriquez ultimately lost a lot more than he gained.” Copp’s area of operations includes the states of: Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with assistance by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Greg Holloway, with Assistant U.S. Attorney James Russell handling the asset forfeiture.

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