MCALLEN, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — Jose Luis Tobias, 28, of Edinburg, has been ordered to prison following his convictions of two counts of conspiring to harbor and transport undocumented aliens and three counts of harboring undocumented aliens, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. A federal jury convicted Tobias following two days of trial and approximately five hours of deliberation on Dec. 6, 2012.
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who presided over the trial, handed Tobias the 30-month sentence. Tobias will also be required to serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
Evidence presented at trial proved that on Sept. 25, 2012, Border Patrol agents encountered 31 undocumented aliens in an apartment in Edinburg. The night before, he had assisted in transporting some undocumented aliens north of Edinburg to just south of the Falfurrias checkpoint. When he was apprehended he was preparing to assist in the transportation of more undocumented aliens that night. Evidence also showed that Tobias had also previously delivered food for the undocumented aliens at the Edinburg apartment.
The defense attempted to convince the jury that Tobias was not involved in the alien smuggling and, therefore, not guilty. The jury disagreed and found him guilty of five counts of alien smuggling as charged.
Previously released on bond, Tobias was taken into custody following the sentencing today where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Border Patrol investigated the case with assistance from the Edinburg Police Department and the Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Kristen Rees and Kim Leo prosecuted the case.