EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Isaac Livan Martinez had food and bulk water in his vehicle when authorities removed it in late June, which prosecutors say is commonly used during smuggling activity.
Martinez, 23, had been seen in a surveillance video along with Gina Alexandria Guzman, 26, a few weeks earlier, after authorities found 50 undocumented immigrants at a hotel in Pharr, Texas.
Authorities had responded to the Krystal Hotel by an unrelated call on May 13, when hotel staff informed them that they suspected dozens of immigrants were staying in several hotel rooms.
Authorities later learned that Martinez and Guzman had rented several hotel rooms and a surveillance video showed them with a stolen U-Haul truck to pick up and drop off immigrants at the hotel, including several unaccompanied minors.
After a traffic stop on June 28, Martinez allowed investigators to search his San Juan residence, where they discovered 45 undocumented immigrants, some of whom were unaccompanied minors.
Investigators said some of the people staying at the Pharr Hotel and the San Juan House identified Martinez and Guzman as “caregivers.”
On Thursday, Martinez and Guzman pleaded guilty to conspiring to house nearly 100 people illegally in the country, according to U.S. prosecutors for the South Texas district.
Martinez and Guzman face up to ten years in prison and a possible fine of up to $ 250,000. They have been and will remain in custody until their verdict on November 30.
The relationship between Guzman and Martinez is unknown, although a press release identified them as a couple.
Investigations into National Immigration and Customs Security investigated the case with the assistance of Pharr and San Juan police departments. According to a press release, U.S. Deputy Attorney Matthew Redavid is prosecuting the case.