Texas couple admit housing close to 100 migrants at Rio Grande Valley home, hotel

Border Report

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Isaac Livan Martinez had bulk food and water in his vehicle when authorities pulled him over in late June, something prosecutors say is commonly used during smuggling activity.

Martinez, 23, had been spotted in surveillance video along with 26-year-old Gina Alexandria Guzman a few weeks prior, after authorities found 50 undocumented immigrants at a hotel in Pharr, Texas.

Authorities had responded to the Krystal Hotel for an unrelated call on May 13 when hotel staff informed them that they suspected dozens of migrants staying in various hotel rooms.

Authorities later learned that Martinez and Guzman had rented several hotel rooms, and surveillance video showed them using a stolen U-Haul truck to pick up and drop off migrants, including several unaccompanied minors, at the hotel.

Following a traffic stop on June 28, Martinez allowed investigators to search his San Juan residence, where they discovered 45 undocumented immigrants, some of whom were unaccompanied minors.

Investigators said some of the harbored individuals at the Pharr hotel and San Juan house identified Martinez and Guzman as “caretakers.”

On Thursday, Martinez and Guzman pleaded guilty to conspiring to harbor nearly 100 individuals illegally in the country, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District Of Texas.

Martinez and Guzman face up to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up $250,000. They have been and will remain in custody until their sentencing hearing on Nov. 30.

The relationship between Guzman and Martinez is unknown, though a news release identified them as a couple.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case with the assistance of police departments in Pharr and San Juan. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Redavid is prosecuting the case, according to a news release.

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