Two of four Mexican citizens charged in a scheme to smuggle Mexican citizens into the United States from Canada illegally for up to $4,750 each pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal District Court in Great Falls.
Alberto Guillen-Gordillo, 23, and Samuel Velasco-Tovar, 28, face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. They will be sentenced May 5.
A third suspect, Josue Bermudez-Lopez, 26, has already pleaded guilty to illegally transporting illegal immigrants for money and will be sentenced May 5, as well.
Border Patrol agents and Glacier County Sheriff’s deputies caught the four in an elaborate sting operation at a Cut Bank hotel.
At 11:15 p.m. on Nov. 17, officers stopped two vehicles headed in the direction of Cut Bank from an area just south of the Canadian border.
Nine illegal immigrants had jumped out of the van. Eight were captured, and eventually told officers they were in the country illegally. They said they had paid $4,000 to $4,750 each to be transported into the United States.
Omero Bandgeras-Rodriguez, a fourth suspect, has pleaded not guilty.
Guillen-Gordillo and Velasco-Tovar remained jailed pending sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris.
The Border Patrol agents said hotel employees reported they had noticed some of the defendants conducting suspicious activities during earlier visits.
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