MCALLEN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – An alleged Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization member from South Texas was sentenced for his role in a conspiracy to transport undocumented immigrants.
On Feb. 2, 2021, Benito Lopez III, 53, from Los Ebanos appeared before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez who sentenced him to seven years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. The court found Lopez responsible for smuggling 25 to 99 undocumented immigrants over the course of a 4-month conspiracy. Additionally, he had created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury based on the conditions in which he housed the undocumented immigrants.READ MORE: Former Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall Explains Why No Action Was Ever Taken Against Officer Bryan Riser, Now Charged With Capital Murder
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) probe led to Lopez’s arrest.
“HSI is dedicated to working closely with all of our law enforcement partners to effectively identify, arrest and prosecute individuals involved in exploiting people,” said HSI McAllen’s Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “Criminals who illegally smuggle people into and throughout the country place personal profit ahead of public safety. For this reason, HSI will continue to utilize its broad authorities to dismantle human smuggling organizations.”
Judge Alvarez enhanced the sentence, finding Lopez obstructed justice by providing detailed confidential information to co-conspirators regarding the investigation. He was also in possession of firearms and used minors during and in furtherance of the conspiracy. Judge Alvarez also noted how Lopez endangered others, both during the conspiracy and while on bond. She stated she needed to impose a sentence to promote respect for the rule of law and deter his future criminal conduct. HSI discovered that Lopez was an active member of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization.
Lopez pleaded guilty Feb. 3, 2020.READ MORE: Gov. Greg Abbott Responds To Criticism For Ending Mask Mandate, Fully Reopening Texas: 'There's Never Going To Be Uniform Agreement On This'
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