DACA recipient loses status after transporting undocumented immigrants

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LAREDO, Texas – A 22-year-old Mexican national living in Laredo has been ordered deported following his conviction in a multi-agency, high-speed pursuit, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Jose Yepez-Vega pleaded guilty April 29, 2019, to three counts of transporting an undocumented alien within the United States for financial gain, causing risk of serious bodily injury or death as well as one count of conspiracy.

Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña noted Yepez-Vega’s status as a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has been revoked and he is to be deported back to Mexico. At the hearing, the court warned him to not come back to the United States.

On July 21, 2018, law enforcement agents observed a vehicle exit Interstate Highway 35 in an attempt to circumvent the checkpoint located at mile marker 29 north of Laredo. Yepez-Vega was driving. Authorities attempted to perform a traffic stop, but the vehicle failed to yield. More officers from various jurisdictions pursued the vehicle for more than 50 miles on Interstate 35. The fleeing vehicle exceeded speeds of 130 miles per hour before eventually losing control and pulling off the highway.

Authorities arrested Yepez-Vega, identified as a Mexican national and recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

Three undocumented aliens from Mexico were located in his vehicle. All three admitted to paying between $4,000 – $6,000 to be smuggled into the United States and on to their final destinations of Texas, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Yepez-Vega was sentenced to more than a year, his time in custody since his arrest.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol, Encinal Police Department, La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Graciela Lindberg and Jennifer Day prosecuted the case.

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