Edinburg pair sentenced for transporting, harboring immigrants

McALLEN — Two men from Edinburg and two Mexican citizens were sentenced Tuesday in connection with the transport and harboring of unauthorized immigrants, according to a news release.

Jose Mario Ledezma-Vega, 47, and Willie Vargas, 34, both of Edinburg, along with Jorge Luis Ortiz-Aguilera, 36, and Anayeli Gonzalez-Trejo, 25, of Mexico, were sentenced to prison for their roles in human trafficking operation that moved people through the Rio Grande Valley to Houston, according to the release.

Juan Covarrubias-Hernandez, 30, of Mexico, who also played a role in the trafficking, will be sentenced at a later date, according to the release.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Ortiz-Aguilera and Ledezma-Vega, who operated as the leaders of the organization, to 51 months in prison for their roles in the conspiracy, the release states.

“Ortiz was the head of the organization and Ledezma was in charge of coordinating the scouts in the Rio Grande Valley, which facilitated the transportation and movement of the unauthorized immigrants to the Houston area,” the release states.

Crane sentenced Vargas and Gonzalez-Trejo to sentences of 17 months and 12 months and a day respectively, the release states.

“From on or about July 2015 through October 2015, Ortiz-Aguilera coordinated the transportation of unauthorized immigrants from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to a location near Houston. During the course of the conspiracy, Ledezma-Vega and Vargas acted as ‘scouts’ for law enforcement for the vehicles transporting the aliens, in an attempt to avoid their detention,” the release states. “In October 2015, working with the same organization, Covarrubias-Hernandez and Gonzalez-Trejo jointly provided food and shelter to a group of unauthorized immigrants at their home in Donna.”

All five defendants remain in U.S. Marshals’ custody, according to the release.