FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2017
Young Alien Smuggler Who Injured Several People in
High-Speed Chase Sent to Prison
LAREDO, Texas - A Rio Bravo man has been ordered to
federal prison after he led police on a high-speed chase in a vehicle loaded
with several illegal aliens before crashing into another vehicle and causing
serious injuries to several Laredo residents, announced Acting U.S. Attorney
Abe Martinez and Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio Field Office.
Jovanni Rodarte, 20, pleaded guilty Dec. 8, 2016, admitting to conspiring to
transport unlawful aliens and causing serious bodily injury.
Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo
sentenced Rodarte to 97 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by
three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard that Rodarte
has been involved in gang violence while incarcerated and has had multiple
encounters with law enforcement as a result of smuggling aliens. The government
also described the incredible injuries that Rodarte inflicted on multiple innocent
people. The court also heard from a victim's wife who described the tremendous
pain her husband has endured since the crash and the toll the crash has taken
on her entire family. In handing down the sentence, Judge Marmolejo noted that
she would be "entirely justified" in imposing the maximum under law.
She added that despite given multiple opportunities, Rodarte had done nothing
good with his life, but had instead immeasurably impacted multiple innocent
peoples' lives, including a mother and her son. Rodarte was also ordered to pay
$192,997.20 in restitution to the victims.
"HSI is dedicated to working closely with all of our
law enforcement partners to effectively in identify, arrest and prosecute
individuals involved in exploiting people," said Folden. "Criminals
who illegally smuggle people into and throughout the country place personal
profit ahead of public safety. For this reason, HSI will continue to utilize
its broad authorities to dismantle human smuggling organizations."
On Oct. 5, 2016, Rodarte was transporting two illegal
aliens when a Webb County Sheriff's Officer attempted to affect a traffic stop.
Instead of pulling over, Rodarte led several officers on a chase through the El
Cenizo neighborhood of Laredo. During the chase, Rodarte drove more than 100
miles-per-hour in the residential area.
He crashed into a school fence and into a vehicle
containing three Laredo residents, including a mother and son who were
returning from a medical appointment. Law enforcement performed first-aid at
the scene, but several of the vehicles' occupants needed to be air-lifted to
hospitals in Laredo and San Antonio. The three occupants in the vehicle Rodarte
struck all sustained serious injuries that will require years of ongoing
One of the aliens was thrown from the vehicle Rodarte was
driving and also sustained injuries. Rodarte, however, avoided any serious
injuries from the crash.
He has been and remains in federal custody.
HSI conducted the investigation with the assistance of
the U.S. Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Howard is prosecuting the