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Woman gets 42 months in prison for smuggling girls into U.S.

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Woman gets 42 months in prison for smuggling girls into U.S.

Couple used daughter's documents to get girls across the border

An Agua Prieta, Sonora, woman was sentenced Monday to 42 months in prison for smuggling girls across the border using her daughter's border-crossing documents, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

Liudmila Roblero Chavez, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of bringing aliens to the United States. Her husband, Abad Estudillo Venegas, also pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 42 months in prison on Dec. 8, said Bill Solomon, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In November 2010, the couple brought an underage girl into the United States using one of their four daughter's border-crossing card, Solomon said.

According to the plea agreements, the couple had the girl memorize the information on the card, including the couple's names and their daughter's name.

Roblero said at the time of her arrest that she'd brought 40 to 50 undocumented girls into the United States over a year at a fee of $500 per girl. The girls were left unaccompanied at a store with a woman the girls did not know, Solomon said.

"Trafficking in human cargo is a particularly egregious activity and carries with it huge risks, definitely having a terrorizing effect on its victims and obviously done for profit," said Judge James A. Teilborg at Roblero's sentencing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection and the Phoenix Police Department conducted the investigation.

“This case is another example of the greed and exploitation that exists in the human smuggling trade,” said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Arizona, in a press release.

 “Parents who contract with smuggling groups should know that they do so at great potential risk.  They are essentially placing the fate of their children in the hands of criminals who value personal profit over child welfare,” he said.

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