A convicted human trafficker, or Mexican “coyote,” who had been arrested 24 times dating back to the Clinton Administration, was sentenced to federal prison this week for the first time. U.S. Border Patrol agents had nabbed the suspect with smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States 23 times in less than 17 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. But this time arrest number 24 finally resulted in a conviction and prison sentence.
Alien smuggler Efrain Delgado-Rosales, a Mexican national, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy A. Bencivengo for smuggling four illegal aliens into the United States and then abandoning three of them in the Otay Mountains region once they were across United States border from Mexico.
The 35-year-old human smuggler was sentenced to five years in prison by a federal judge in San Diego for bringing an illegal alien into the U.S. for a large fee. He had been arrested by Border Patrol agents 24 times dating back to July 19, 1999. Only once was he apprehended alone. Every other time, he was apprehended with at least two and up to 46 other undocumented individuals. Once, on September 14, 2003, he was apprehended in a load house in Los Angeles with 61 other undocumented individuals.
“In the August 2014 event, one of the smuggled men, Jose de Jesus Hernandez-Adono, died. His mummified body was found by Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations Agents in late September 2014. A witness was located, who had been smuggled in with Hernandez-Adono. The witness identified Delgado-Rosales as the foot guide,” the prosecutors said in a statement.
According to the witness, Hernandez-Adono died, and the other three barely survived the trek. “Why the prosecution didn’t charge Delgado-Rosales with at least manslaughter to me sounds like a political decision. It’s evidence of hardworking law enforcement officers [in the Border Patrol] doing their jobs but the decision-makers dropping the ball. I suspect some of the bad decision making is intentional as part of the President Barack Obama unilateral amnesty,” said Peter Rosario, a former narcotics officer who worked at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Efforts to discover why this convicted human trafficker was able to elude punishment for a number of felonies met with promises of an internal investigation. “The fact that you have a man who managed to avoid incarceration 23 times says more about our law enforcement capabilities especially in this era of rampant Islamist terrorism and human trafficking. Where are the lawmakers now?” asked former police sergeant Manny Rosario.
“After almost a day of hiking through the mountains, Border Patrol was alerted to the men’s whereabouts. Border Patrol agents responded to the location –about one mile north of the U.S.-Mexico border and three miles east of the closest checkpoint at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry- to find Delgado-Rosales and the four men. All five men were arrested for being illegally in the United States,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s prosecutors.
“All four men identified Delgado-Rosales as their foot guide and explained that they and their families each promised to pay others $5,000 to get them each into the United States, for a total of $20,000,” they said.
The location of the arrests matters, because Delgado-Rosales was implicated in another smuggling operation in the Otay Mountains, further east in more rugged and desert-like terrain.
The facts detailed in the August 2014 smuggling event mirror those detailed by the men in this case. As in this case, the men in August 2014 were housed at a stash house in Tijuana while waiting to be smuggled into the United States. Delgado-Rosales required that the men buy and wear drab, brown clothing during the crossing to hide from Border Patrol. The group again consisted of four men and again Delgado-Rosales had them cross over the Otay Mountains. The smuggling fee was the same, $5,000, and Delgado-Rosales again appeared to lack any concern for the welfare of his charges.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said, “This case serves as an example of the extreme dangers associated with crossing illegally into the United States. Smuggling activities are run by criminal organizations that have little concern over the welfare of their charges. Our office will aggressively prosecute those who smuggle illegal aliens into the United States for financial gain, place those in their company in grave danger and needlessly cause deaths.”
Chief Border Patrol Agent Richard A. Barlow added, “The sentence of Delgado-Rosales sends a stern message to those who use dangerous means to smuggle individuals into this country for profit. I would like to acknowledge the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts in this case.”
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist, and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show..
He's former chief of police at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.