South Texas human smuggler receives enhanced nearly 6-year prison sentence for high-speed chase

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LAREDO, Texas — A south Texas man involved in a high-speed chase while transporting illegal aliens was sentenced Thursday to five years and seven months in federal prison for transporting illegal aliens for profit.

This case was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol.

Felipe Pena, 40, of Laredo, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo to 67 months in federal prison, which included an upward variance for almost injuring CBP officers during the chase. The court further noted that Pena is a violent individual and should show respect to law enforcement and the United States of America. Pena pleaded guilty Aug. 27, 2014.

According to court documents, Pena was arrested Aug. 14 on alien smuggling charges at CBP’s Border Patrol Checkpoint on US Highway 83 near the 35-mile marker. At that time, Pena approached the checkpoint in a Ford F-150 pickup truck where a Border Patrol canine was alerted to the presence of humans inside Pena’s vehicle.

Pena then accelerated his vehicle and fled the scene, nearly injuring on-duty BP agents. Pena led authorities on a high-speed chase for three miles, reaching speeds of 90 miles per hour. Upon apprehension, agents discovered a woman hiding behind the driver’s seat and a man hiding underneath a tool box. Both subjects were illegal aliens and citizens of Honduras and Mexico who had paid Pena for transportation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanjeev Bhasker, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

Source: ICE