Mexican nationals face life sentence for human smuggling resulting in death

Published 7:42 am Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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LAREDO, Texas – Two Mexican men have admitted to their roles in an alien smuggling conspiracy which resulted in death, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Fabian Hernandez, 29, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Emmanuel Ferral-Tonche, 19, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Kazen today.

On June 9, 2021, Hernandez and Ferral-Tonche marched a group of approximately two dozen individuals through the hot south Texas brush. Some were unable to keep going. At no time did Hernandez or Ferral-Tonche offer water or attempt to look for anyone who had fallen behind or gotten lost.

Authorities eventually responded to multiple 911 emergency calls coming from the Hachar Ranch property in Webb County. They ultimately discovered 24 individuals illegally present in the United States who had become lost at that location. They identified Hernandez and Ferral-Tonche as the smugglers.

Law enforcement also found the remains of three deceased people. Agents determined Hernandez and Ferral-Tonche had guided at least one of them before they succumbed to dehydration and hyperthermia while being smuggled.

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo will impose sentencing March 16, 2022. At that time, both men face up to life in federal prison. They have been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation with assistance from the Laredo Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.