Alvin man, woman convicted after trying to smuggle illegal immigrants into U.S.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Two Alvin residents have been ordered to prison for their involvement in transporting undocumented immigrants, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sarah Lynn Reyes, 23, and Martin Thomas Contreras, 25, pleaded guilty on Feb. 21 to recklessly transporting a man in disregard of his citizenship status. Reyes also admitted to fleeing a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint.
The U.S. District Judge John Rainey handed both men an 18-month sentence.
Rainey expressed his hope that the sentence will serve as a deterrent to others who may be thinking about transporting undocumented immigrants, according to a DOJ release. Both will also be required to serve a term of two years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms.
On Dec. 21, 2016, both arrived at the CBP checkpoint on Texas Hwy 77 south of Santa driving a four-door Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with their three young children in the back seat, prosecutors said. Reyes was driving and Contreras was located in the front passenger seat. Officers observed a large lump on the backseat floorboard covered with a blanket. At that time, a canine service agent alerted to the vehicle, which prompted them to refer the vehicle to the secondary inspection area.
Reyes did not comply and drove away. A chase ensued for about 75 miles, during which time Reyes drove at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, speeding through stop signs and red lights. She was eventually apprehended in Corpus Christi.
At that time, authorities discovered an undocumented immigrant from Mexico laying under the blanket on the floorboard where the children were seated.
At the hearing, Rainey noted that the driving conduct was extremely dangerous to the young children in the car, other motorists and law enforcement and that it was one of the longest high-speed chases he has seen.
The defendants were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.