After more than fourteen hours of deliberations, a jury here in Houston has convicted three people for their roles in the nation’s deadliest immigrant smuggling incident. Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams has the latest.
Jurors took parts of four days to convict Victor Sanchez Rodriguez, his wife, Emma Sapata Rodriguez and her half sister, Rosa Sarrata Gonzalez. The three were found guilty on 35 of the 43 counts of conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens. The panel agreed with federal prosecutors who argued the defendants ran one of several smuggling rings that arranged for an ill-fated trip from the Rio Grande Valley in May of 2003 that ended in the deaths of 19 immigrants near Victoria. Ester Delgado, who claims Emma Rodriguez agreed to smuggle her brother to the US many years ago, says she’s glad the trial is over.
“We’re happy that justice has been served. We’re going to fight to find out if she can tell us where my brother is.”
Sentencing is set for May 1st.