A U.S. citizen used a fake Mexican ID to get deported by federal authorities to avoid prosecution following a human smuggling incident in December 2021. The now-convicted Texas-based smuggler is believed to have moved hundreds of migrants illegally into the country and funneled large amounts of money to cartel associates in Mexico during a two-year period, prosecutors stated.
This week, Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crave sentenced 27-year-old Derly Cresencio Medina to nine years in prison and 48-year-old Jessica Dinora Pena Rodriguez to six and a half years for their role in coordinating dozens of human smuggling attempts between August 2021 and February 2023. Both human smugglers had pleaded guilty to various charges earlier this year.
According to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, in December 2021, Medina picked up a group of seven migrants on the banks of the Rio Grande. U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested the group. Rather than face prosecution, Medina gave the agents a fake Mexican ID and passed himself off as a migrant. Federal authorities fell for the ruse and deported him to Mexico. Medina returned hours later through a port of entry using his real name.
Authorities arrested Medina and Pena in February 2023 as part of an investigation that began on May 23, 2022. The arrest occurred when U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a human smuggler moving a group of eight migrants. The smuggler led agents on a high-speed chase, court documents revealed. During the investigation into the case, authorities learned that the driver was being directed by phone by Medina and Pena.
Federal authorities revealed that both Medina and Pena were leaders in a cartel-connected human smuggling operation that moved hundreds of migrants into Texas, advertised their services on social media, had a network of stash houses, moved them past checkpoints deeper into the country, and funneled large amounts of money back to Mexican cartels.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at email@example.com.