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Woman Pleads Guilty to Human Smuggling Charges

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Oct. 6, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Reyne Aguilar-Hernandez, of Chiapas, Mexico, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit human smuggling and one count of assisting a criminal syndicate.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Department of Public Safety that led to the arrest and indictment of eight suspected “coyotes” in March. The charges followed the execution of search warrants on a Mesa apartment complex.

The investigation revealed that this crime organization began smuggling people into the country for money more than two years ago. At the time the defendants were arrested, officers found more than 50 undocumented immigrants being held until they could be transported to other locations in the U.S.

Aguilar-Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle on Nov. 9. She faces up to one year in jail and four years of probation. Aguilar-Hernandez has been in custody for seven months in Maricopa County Jail. Assistant Attorney General Theodore Campagnolo is prosecuting this case.