EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A South Texas woman who orchestrated a deadly human smuggling scheme remains jailed after pleading guilty.
Viriam Lizeth Huerta-Garcia, 24, of Edinburg, Texas, said during a plea hearing last Thursday that the family of a Mexican man paid her $3,600 to smuggle him into the U.S.
However, the man died on July 21, 2021, when smugglers abandoned him on the side of the road. They notified his family that he had become ill and was left behind.
Smugglers gave the family the man’s location, and law enforcement was able to find him lying down in a brushy area.
Investigators say the man had gone to Mexico to be with his ailing mother and tried to return to the U.S. before being reported missing on July 18, 2021.
Huerta-Garcia last week pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport undocumented migrants, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement news release.
Huerta-Garcia will remain in custody pending her sentencing hearing on May 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Patti Hubert Booth is prosecuting the case.