(STL.News) – Selvin Geovani Velazquez-Villanueva, 33, an illegal alien from Honduras, was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., to 24 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for smuggling other illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, and Gilbert Trill, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans.

On February 11, 2020, a Harrison County Sheriff’s Deputy was patrolling Interstate 10 and observed a Chevrolet Trailblazer driving recklessly.  The deputy initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle and a U.S. Border Patrol Agent arrived on the scene to assist.  The deputy and the Border Patrol Agent encountered the driver, Selvin Geovani Velazquez-Villanueva, and detected numerous signs of smuggling. They determined that Velazquez-Villanueva and his five passengers did not have proper documents to be legally in the U.S., and all vehicle occupants were transported to the Border Patrol station in Gulfport for processing.

Velazquez-Villanueva and each of his five passengers had their fingerprints scanned into a U.S. Department of Homeland Security computerized records database which automatically matches fingerprints from prior immigration encounters.  Velazquez-Villanueva was positively identified as an adult alien to the United States, who had been previously deported or removed from the U.S. Additionally, three of his passengers were confirmed to be illegal aliens who had been previously deported or removed from the U.S. and had knowingly returned without lawful permission.

Velazquez-Villanueva pled guilty before Judge Guirola on June 10, 2020.  The three previously-deported illegal alien passengers being smuggled by Velazquez-Villanueva pled guilty and were sentenced for unlawful return by an alien after removal: Martinez-Torres, 32, of Mexico, pled guilty on July 23, 2020, and was sentenced to “time served;” Gerver Gudiel Vicente-Perez, 23, of Guatemala, pled guilty on June 29, 2020, and was sentenced to “time served;” and Jonathan Alexander Zamora-Amaya, 21, of El Salvador, pled guilty on June 4, 2020 and was sentenced to “time served.”  All three of the passengers were also sentenced to a term of 1 year of supervised release and will undergo Department of Homeland Security removal proceedings to remove them back to their home nations.

U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the cooperation exhibited by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Stan Harris is the prosecutor for the case.

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