Dona Ana man found guilty of smuggling illegal immigrants he picked at El Paso border

Courtesy: MGN 

A Dona Ana man has been found guilty of smuggling illegal immigrants, some of which he picked up in El Paso.

Jose Luis Zamora, 25, of Rincon, New Mexico was indicted on conspiracy and transporting illegal alien charges.

A federal jury found him guilty on the charges Tuesday.

Zamora was arrested on Feb. 14. Three days prior to his arrest, Border Patrol agents found seven people who were trying to avoid the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint on Highway 185 in Dona Ana County, federal officials said. The agents discovered the seven people were undocumented and arrested them.

Three of the undocumented immigrants testified during trial that Zamora had picked them up near the border in El Paso after being smuggled into the U.S. from Juarez, Mexico on Feb. 8.

They also admitted paying $1,500, $4,000 and $4,500 to be smuggled into the U.S., according to officials.

Once in the U.S., the illegal immigrants said Zamora picked them up in a van and drove them to a trailer and later to a hotel in Las Cruces where they stayed for two days.

On Feb. 11, Zamora drove the undocumented immigrants north in Interstate 25 before pulling over just before the Border Patrol checkpoint.

Zamora then told the illegal immigrants to walk around the checkpoint so they wouldn’t be seen and that he would pick them up two hours later.

Agents found the illegal immigrants and arrested them.

Zamora remains in federal custody until his sentencing, which is yet to be scheduled.

He faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.

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