I.C.E. News Release



Members of family-based South Texas alien smuggling organization sentenced to federal prison

MCALLEN, Texas — A husband and wife and two others were sentenced Monday to federal prison for their roles in a conspiracy to transport illegal aliens within the U.S.

The U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas, announced these sentences.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane handed down the following sentences. Jaime Brewster Sanchez, 40, of Donna, Texas, was sentenced to 57 months imprisonment to be followed by three years supervised release. His wife Gabriela Garcia Candanoza, 37, also from Donna was sentenced to 51-months in federal prison. Both pleaded guilty May 7.

At the hearing, additional evidence was presented that showed Sanchez and Candanoza used their family’s large property located next to the Rio Grande River to conceal illegal aliens as they entered the United States. Sanchez and Candanoza then coordinated transferring the illegal aliens to other locations.

Judge Crane also sentenced Martina Caballero-Flores, 50, of Donna to serve 15 months in federal prison to be followed by two years of supervised release. Lewis Brewster, 42, also of Donna was ordered to serve 27 months’ imprisonment.

Brewster was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release.

According to court documents, in May 2014, HSI began an investigation on Sanchez and members of his family that were suspected of transporting and harboring illegal aliens. He harbored and concealed illegal aliens on his family’s real property located near the Rio Grande River in Donna. Brewster and his wife coordinated with other organization members to bring in aliens from Mexico and temporarily harbor them at their residence until provisions were made to have the illegal aliens transported to other stash houses.

Arredondo and Caballero-Flores were identified as drivers for the organization. Brewster assisted the organization by directing the illegal aliens to the different stash locations and by informing organization members of the presence of law enforcement.

All were ordered to remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney, Robert Wells Jr., Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.