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Texas Woman Duped Border Agents; Used Fake Documents and Smuggled Hundreds of Mexicans into US; Sentenced after Agents Felt Something Off

Texas Woman Duped Border Agents; Used Fake Documents and Smuggled Hundreds of Mexicans into US; Sentenced after Agents Felt Something Off

A woman in Texas has been sentenced to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of orchestrating a human smuggling operation. The Department of Justice officials announced this on Monday.

Kimberly Cruz, pretending to be an immigration attorney, successfully guided almost 100 Mexican migrants across a border crossing in Eagle Pass, Texas. A sum of almost $275,000 was paid to her for legal services related to crossing the border and reuniting with family.

Additionally, it has been revealed that the 35-year-old was involved in the production of counterfeit documents, which she used to deceive border officials. This information comes from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

Cruz’s deceptive tactics of posing as someone else and providing counterfeit documents to U.S. border agents stand out in the realm of human trafficking at the border. Normally, individuals known as “coyotes” transport people by evading legal entry points or hiding them in vehicles. A coyote is a term used to describe individuals who discreetly transport people across borders in exchange for payment.

San Antonio resident Cruz has been sentenced following his guilty plea to a charge of wire fraud. She was instructed to surrender $271,000 and compensate $9,900 in restitution.

Cruz was able to gather identity documents such as birth certificates, passports, and I.D. cards from Mexican nationals who trusted her as a legal representative. According to her plea agreement, she submitted the completed documents, including a valid ID photo and immigration paperwork, to border officials.

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The documents permitted the migrants to enter the country for a limited period of time, specifically 24 to 48 hours, for their immigration appointments. Instead of escorting them to undergo biometric procedures for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, she diverted them to their families, leaving them at mall parking lots, or transporting them to airports or bus stations for onward travel to different locations within the U.S., as stated in the plea agreement.

The plan went awry when a border agent engaged in conversation with the individuals she was assisting in crossing. It was revealed that these individuals had a different destination in mind, contrary to what their official documents stated, as stated in the guilty plea. She confessed to the scheme when questioned by officials from Homeland Security Investigations.

Kerby, the supervisor overseeing the investigation, remembered that border agents had a sense that something was amiss.

In emails to the assistant director of the Eagle Pass border crossing, she presented herself as a legal advocate as reported by USA Today.

However, she misled officers at the border by giving them the impression that she was an attorney, an official for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as stated in court filings.

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