Four members of a Fallbrook family were arraigned in federal court on September 8 on charges they were involved in an illegal alien smuggling ring that had been bringing illegal immigrants in to the United States from Mexico since 1996.
Maria del Carmen Alvarez, Indalecio Alvarez-Montoya, Juan Alvarez and Patricia Marquez were charged with conspiracy to bring in illegal aliens for financial gain, 15 counts of bringing in illegal aliens for financial gain, 15 counts of transporting illegal immigrants, 14 counts of harboring illegal immigrants, conspiracy to launder money and three counts of filing false tax returns.
According to a court statement, federal prosecutors alleged that the four defendants would have the illegal immigrants either walk or be driven across the United States/Mexico border in San Ysidro by providing them with false or altered documents, then holding the immigrants in a two bedroom guesthouse on their Fallbrook property on Rancho Camino Road. The defendants would keep the illegal immigrants at the property until a sponsor or family member would wire money for having the immigrants brought across the border.
The indictment stated that Maria Alvarez was the most intimately involved with the smuggling operation, would personally meet the immigrants in Tijuana to arrange their crossing, and pick them up in San Diego to transport them to Fallbrook.
According to Lauren Mack, representative of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego, the family had a “very well established and lucrative smuggling ring, and made lots of money illegally” as a result of their activities.
From 2000 to 2005, the family members accumulated over $250,000 in wire transfers. Alvarez accumulated $50,000; her husband, Indalecio, $50,000; and their adult children, Juan and Patricia, accumulated more than $150,000.
Mack also said property and financial assets that could be seized from the family includes a 3,200 square foot home and a strip mall in Corona with equity of over a million dollars, a telltale sign of just how lucrative the family’s smuggling business was.
Because of the methods the family used to smuggle immigrants into the United States, and the unique way they demanded payment, Mack believes that the family developed techniques found by “long time smuggling.”
With the Alvarez family members arrested, Mack believes that this small smuggling ring has been “disrupted.”
Another court hearing is scheduled for October 20.