Co-Leader of Immigrant Smuggling Ring Pleads Guilty

Last Update: 4/24 6:16 pm

SAN DIEGO - The co-leader of an immigrant smuggling ring pleaded guilty Friday to being an alien in possession of a firearm.

Fernando Jaquez-Mercado, 33, is scheduled to be sentenced May 15 by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino.

The defendant's 36-year-old brother, Felipe Jaquez-Mercado, pleaded guilty April 14 to the same charge and will be sentenced July 17.

The brothers headed the Samurai alien smuggling ring and were arrested by federal agents in February when search warrants were executed at their homes, according to court documents.

Members of the Samurai alien smuggling organization are known to drive dangerously with their human cargo aboard, failing to yield and driving into opposing lanes of traffic in an attempt to evade authorities, prosecutors said.