McALLEN, Texas — Three human smugglers were convicted for their roles in a failed operation that resulted in a illegal immigrant falling from a bridge to her death.
On Monday, 41-year-old Antonio Arredondo, 35-year-old Carlos Valentin Avendano, and 34-year-old Nancy Yadira Moreno went before U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa where they pleaded guilty to human smuggling. Arredondo is a native of Alamo, Texas, while Moreno and Avendano are Mexican citizens.
The charges against the three convicted smugglers stem from an August 4, 2014, case where a group of illegal immigrants was trying to enter the U.S. by scaling the international bridge that connects Reynosa, Tamaulipas with Pharr, Texas. During the attempt, a woman fell from the bridge and was left behind by the group. The following morning, federal authorities located the body near a levee.
The foot guide that had been leading the group was later arrested and identified as 33-year-old Victor Moreno Ruiz. He has since pleaded guilty and is currently serving more than 12 years in federal prison for his role in the failed smuggling attempt.
Antonio Arredondo admitted to having been the coordinator while Avendano admitted to recruiting her husband, Moreno, to drive the illegal immigrants. Judge Hinojosa set the sentencing date for the three human smugglers on February 2017, at which time each could face a possible life prison term.