Federal authorities seeking human smuggler

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VICTORIA, Texas – A 48-year-old Mexican national who resided in McAllen and Houston is now a fugitive from justice.

Humberto Ramirez-Santos was set to appear in Victoria federal court Oct. 2 to receive his sentence for a conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. He did not show. Today, a federal grand jury indicted him on another charge of failure to appear and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the U.S. Marshals Service at 361-220-1800.

Ramirez-Santos pleaded guilty July 8 to his involvement in a conspiracy to transport illegal aliens between October 2011 to July 2017. The alien smuggling organization facilitated the smuggling of illegal aliens from multiple countries including individuals from China, Russia, India, Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. Ages of those smuggled into the country ranged from toddlers to the elderly but were mostly comprised of young adults. 

At the time of his plea, the court heard that smuggling trips were taken every week and the total number of aliens transported are incalculable.

A particular tactic was to select a tractor trailer parked at a South Texas truck stop with a suitable temperature. They would then remove the seal and load the illegal aliens. Members of the organization would follow the vehicle to the next stop somewhere north of the checkpoint to later retrieve them. The drivers would be unaware of their human cargo and were potentially exposed to criminal liability. The aliens were then be transported in closed Penske trucks to Houston.

Ramirez-Santos provided aliens to be smuggled through his contacts in Mexico. He also trained the young members of the organization in how to do counter-surveillance and instructed younger family members in how to move aliens.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol and Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patti Hubert Booth is prosecuting the case.

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