Saturday, September 23, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, September 23, 2023 | Back issues
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Always Something New in Alien Smuggling

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A California woman was convicted of alien smuggling conspiracy involving jet skis and panga boats, federal prosecutors said.

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Sofia Martinez, 27, of San Ysidro after a two-week trial.

Martinez and her co-conspirators charged $7,000 to $10,000 a bring people into the United States, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Trial evidence showed that Martinez hired three Mexican citizens and trained them to use jet skis, then smuggled people from Mexican beaches to U.S. beaches.

She was arrested in May 2013, allegedly with 15 undocumented aliens stashed in various places around La Jolla.

Her bond was revoked upon conviction. She faces up to 15 years in prison for smuggling people for financial gain and 5 years for conspiracy, at her Feb. 23, 2015 sentencing.

Increased law enforcement in the United States and economic desperation and repression south of the border have driven the price of body smuggling up from $50 a head in the 1960s and '70s.

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