Final Defendant in Fatal Smuggling Conspiracy Sentenced to 21 Years in Federal Prison

The final individual involved in a fatal smuggling conspiracy, Orlando Andres Garcia, 24, of Mission, has been sentenced to federal prison for two separate smuggling events that occurred just weeks apart. U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani announced Garcia’s sentencing, revealing that he pleaded guilty to human smuggling resulting in death and conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens on Feb. 3 and Nov. 29, 2022, respectively.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Garcia to serve 120 months for the conspiracy to harbor and 151 months for the smuggling event resulting in death. These sentences will be served partially consecutively, totaling 251 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

During the hearing, the court learned that Garcia had communicated with another driver in the fatal smuggling event, encouraging dangerous speeds. Judge Alvarez took into account the life-altering injuries sustained by survivors and Garcia’s involvement in kidnapping people for ransom just 18 days after the fatal accident.

Judge Alvarez emphasized Garcia’s use of multiple weapons, including firearms and a machete, highlighting his disregard for the well-being of migrants. Hamdani stated, “Garcia trafficked in humans, not caring about the multiple lives he destroyed,” emphasizing that Garcia viewed migrants as property to buy and sell.

Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio expressed satisfaction with the justice served, stating, “Today, justice was served.” He condemned Garcia’s actions, noting that the deaths could have been prevented if not for Garcia’s greed.

The smuggling incident occurred on Oct. 22, 2021, when Brandon Cibriano-Gonzalez acted as a guide, leading 10 non-U.S. citizens into the United States. Quintanilla-Alcocer and Garcia, driving separate vehicles, engaged in a high-speed chase, reaching speeds of 130 miles per hour. The chase ended in a crash, resulting in the deaths of two individuals, with a third migrant succumbing to injuries three months later.

Just weeks later, Garcia was involved in another smuggling scheme, holding people for ransom on Nov. 9, 2021. Twelve others were convicted in relation to this scheme, receiving sentences of up to 80 months. Mexican nationals Quintanilla-Alcocer and Cibriano-Gonzalez, who also pleaded guilty, have been sentenced.

HSI led the investigations, with assistance from Border Patrol, Palmview Police Department, and Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee Fry and Devin Walker prosecuted the cases.