A Guatemalan national appeared in federal court in the Southern District of Texas, after being extradited to the United States from Guatemala to face criminal charges for her role in smuggling undocumented migrants to the United States for profit, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas and Director Sarah R. Saldaña of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Rosa Umanzor-Lopez, 35, of Guatemala, was arrested in Guatemala on Feb. 5, 2014, on a provisional arrest warrant based on a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of Texas in December 2012. The indictment charges her with one count of conspiracy to smuggle undocumented immigrants into the United States, three counts of bringing aliens to the United States for financial gain and three corresponding counts of encouraging and inducing an alien to come to the United States. Three individuals also charged in the indictment have previously been convicted and sentenced.
The indictment alleges that Umanzor-Lopez and her co-defendants established a network to recruit individuals from India and elsewhere who wished to be smuggled into the United States. The defendants then allegedly arranged for aliens to be transported to the United States through South America and Central America by various means including by air travel, automobiles, water craft and foot.
The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The investigation was conducted by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in McAllen and Houston, with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Alien Smuggling Interdiction Unit. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christina Giffin of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leo J. Leo III and Casey MacDonald of the Southern District of Texas. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs assisted with the extradition.
The investigation was conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.