Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California: June 3,
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:12-cr-00020-SJO. S. James Otero, District Judge, Presiding.
The panel affirmed a sentence for harboring and concealing illegal aliens for financial gain.
The panel held that the district court applied the proper legal standard and did not clearly err in applying an enhancement, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2L1.1(b)(4), for harboring unaccompanied minor aliens, when the district court looked at the particular circumstances of this alien smuggling ring and the defendant's role within it to conclude that it was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant that unaccompanied minors would be present. Rejecting the defendant's contention that the district court's finding did not comport with due process, the panel held that the undisputed facts upon which the district court relied bear sufficient indicia of reliability.
Upholding the district court's imposition of an enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2L1.1(b)(8), the panel held that the district court did not clearly err in finding that this particular smuggling organization detained aliens both in connection with a demand for payment and through coercion or threat, and in finding that such detention was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant.
Marisa Conroy (argued), Law Office of Marisa L. D. Conroy, Encinitas, California; Michelle Anderson Barth, Burlington, Vermont, for Defendant-Appellant.
Kerry C. O'Neill (argued) and David M. Herzog, Assistant United States Attorneys; Robert E. Dugdale, Assistant United States Attorney, Los Angeles, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Before: Stephen Reinhardt, Raymond C. Fisher, and Mary H. Murguia, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Murguia.
MURGUIA, Circuit Judge:
Fredy Oswaldo Gamez Reyes pleaded guilty to six counts of harboring and concealing illegal aliens for financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) and (a)(1)(B)(i). The district court imposed a within-guidelines sentence of ninety-six months' imprisonment and a three-year term of supervised release. On appeal, Gamez Reyes claims that the district court erred in applying a two-level sentencing enhancement, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2L1.1(b)(4), for harboring unaccompanied minor aliens, and a two-level sentencing enhancement, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2L1.1(b)(8)(A), for involuntarily detaining aliens through coercion or threat or in connection with a demand for payment. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a), and we affirm.
Between May 2008 and March 2011, Gamez Reyes participated in a large-scale alien smuggling operation that smuggled approximately 2,000 aliens annually into the United States and harbored them in stash houses in southern California until they paid a fee. Typically, the aliens paid a portion of the smuggling fee in their country of origin, and after they arrived in the United States their families paid the remainder of the fee on the aliens' behalf. Gamez Reyes was in charge of obtaining and renting the stash houses, overseeing the maintenance and operation of the stash houses, and collecting smuggling fees from family members in exchange for the release of the aliens. Gamez Reyes worked directly with the leader of the smuggling ring, known as " Honda." Under Honda's direction, Gamez Reyes retrieved smuggling fees from Western Union or MoneyGram and delivered the money to Honda in person; in ...