EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Israel Ulloa-Osorio agreed to work off his human smuggling debt by guiding undocumented immigrants into the U.S. from Mexico.
According to court documents obtained by Border Report, the 27-year-old from Mexico did not have the $6,000 to pay off smugglers but learned he could make $500 for every migrant he delivered to a stash house in Dallas. Additionally, he would not be allowed to remain in the U.S. until he paid off his debt.
The scheme turned deadly in May 2020, when Ulloa-Osorio was guiding a group of migrants through the rugged West Texas desert to a pick-up location along Interstate 10. One of the men struggled to keep up and ultimately died in the desert.
Court documents state that the man’s son surrendered to Border Patrol, but Ulloa-Osorio successfully delivered the other migrants to the Dallas stash house two days later. However, smugglers ordered him to return to Mexico with the driver.
On June 7, 2020, border agents encountered Ulloa-Osorio and three other men in a part of Hudspeth County known as Cottonwood. Agents determined that all four men were from Mexico and in the U.S. illegally. They were arrested and taken to the Border Patrol’s Van Horn station for a medical evaluation and to be processed.
Later that day, records show, Ulloa-Osorio agreed to make a voluntary statement without the presence of an attorney. He told Homeland Security Investigations special agents of a previous deportation following a conviction for intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle out of Jefferson County, Texas, and his dealings with the human smuggling organization.
On June 2, 2021, Ulloa-Osorio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to bring aliens into the U.S., resulting in death.
On Monday, Ulloa-Osorio received a 72-month prison sentence.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff said, “Human smuggling along the Southwest Border is dangerous and often deadly. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to vigorously enforcing human smuggling laws.”
Added Frank B. Burrola, the Special Agent in Charge for HSI in El Paso: “This sentence underscores Homeland Security Investigations’ relentless efforts to identify transnational criminal organizations that make a profit from smuggling noncitizens into the United States with total disregard for people who may end up paying the ultimate price. … HSI is committed to ensuring that those who prey on the innocent face justice.”
HSI, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office investigated; Assistant U.S. Attorney Spencer D. Kiggins prosecuted the case, according to a news release from the office U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.