“Coyote” Arrested in Yolo County Pleads Guilty to Illegal Transportation of Noncitizens

“Coyote” Arrested in Yolo County Pleads Guilty to  Illegal Transportation of Noncitizens

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Mateo Gomez Gonzalez, 29, of Mexico, pleaded guilty today to unlawful transportation of noncitizens without status in the United States, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, on Sept. 28, 2022, a concerned resident of Sacramento called law enforcement to report that his relative and a friend were being held over a payment dispute in a human smuggling operation with the human smuggler (also known as a “coyote”).  The reporting party conveyed that the driver of a vehicle involved in the transport of Mexican citizens to the United States was threatening to drop the relative and family friend at an unknown stash house rather than to the awaiting family members if additional payment was not made. Acting on the tip, law enforcement met the vehicle at a gas station, discovered four passengers in the vehicle who did not have lawful status in the United States, and arrested the driver, Gomez.

This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Audrey B. Hemesath and Denise Yasinow are prosecuting the case.

Gomez is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 23, 2023, by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. Gomez faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison per individual smuggled. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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