North Texas

Dallas man sentenced to seven years in prison for role in transporting illegal immigrants across Texas

Dallas, Texas – A man from Dallas has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted of conspiring to transport a large number of illegal immigrants across Texas. Sedrick Zelitis Smith, aged 47, received his sentence in a federal court in San Antonio for his involvement in the movement of up to 900 illegal immigrants. These individuals were often crammed into stolen tractor trailers, with numbers reaching up to 100 people at a time.

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The operation usually commenced in Laredo, continued to San Antonio, and concluded in Dallas. According to court records, Smith utilized his commercial driver’s license to operate the 18-wheelers that carried the immigrants. His capture stemmed from an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations that started in May 2021.

“With the rise of human smuggling in recent years, it is absolutely critical that we send a message to criminals throughout all levels of these organizations that their crimes at the expense of vulnerable individuals are serious, they are dangerous, and we are here to readily prosecute,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “I appreciate the dedication of our partners at HSI and our Joint Task Force Alpha initiative. Their efforts have been essential in taking down this HSO and many others. We’ll continue to dismantle these groups and serve justice together.”

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“Justice was served for a human smuggler responsible for coordinating the transportation of hundreds of noncitizens from Laredo to San Antonio. These noncitizens were crammed into tractor trailers, during multiple smuggling events in the stifling Texas heat,” said Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee for HSI San Antonio. “HSI is committed to aggressively target human smugglers and smuggling organizations who continually victimize people for profit.”

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In the same case, nine additional individuals face charges. Bryan Adamson, Ronnie Joe Branch, Eliseo Loredo, Rodney Edward Shavers, Mark Algie Holliday, Francisco Arredondo-Colmenero, and Debbie Marie Gonzales are all awaiting their day in court. Earlier, in April, Fredi Zagala-Servin received a sentence of 97 months in prison for Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens. Norman Lee Walker Jr. was taken into custody on May 21.

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