Man found guilty of transporting undocumented aliens

Dec. 13, 2010 at 6:13 a.m.

A Houston man was found guilty of transportation of undocumented aliens after a jury trial held in Victoria's federal court on Monday.

U.S. District Judge John Rainey presided over the trial, which began Dec. 9.

Manuel Cardenas, 34, was found not guilty of conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens, but guilty of transportation of undocumented aliens.

The jury deliberated for more than an hour before delivering its verdict.

Cardenas' crime stems back to May 13 when he was stopped for speeding in Edna by a Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy.

He was traveling with his cousins, Evaristo Morales-Gomez and Edilsar Augusto Palencia-Ortiz, both of whom were later discovered to be undocumented.

Palencia-Ortiz told authorities that after crossing the border illegally from Mexico he came across Morales-Gomez near Hidalgo, who made arrangements to help transport Palencia-Ortiz to New Jersey, according to court documents.

Morales-Gomez enlisted Cardenas to transport Palencia-Ortiz from Hidalgo to Houston where he was to be loaded into a van headed to New Jersey, court documents said.

Corpus Christi attorney Michele Villarreal-Kuchta represented Cardenas.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patti Hubert-Booth prosecuted the case.

Cardenas' sentencing hearing has been set for March 8, 2011.



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