CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Two members of a smuggling
conspiracy have entered guilty pleas to their part in transporting illegal
aliens in the trunk of a Ford 500 through the Sarita Border Patrol (BP)
Checkpoint, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Cody Michael Matousek, 33, of Texas City, and Guadalupe
Levario, 38, of Galveston, admitted they conspired to transport illegal aliens on March 27, 2019. Law
enforcement has identified Matousek as an affiliate of the Aryan Brotherhood.
On Feb. 6, 2019, a tow truck driver reported that he had
been hired to haul a broken down Ford 500 through the checkpoint from Armstrong
to an auto parts store in Kingsville. When picking up the vehicle on the
shoulder of Highway 77, the tow truck driver observed a tan medium-sized SUV
parked behind the Ford 500. At the checkpoint, the driver told agents he felt
suspicious about the vehicle he was hauling because the driver refused to
provide the keys.
During the inspection, a BP K-9 alerted to the trunk of
the Ford 500. Upon opening the trunk, agents observed two individuals from
Brazil who admitted to being illegally present in the United States.
Law enforcement had the driver drop off the Ford 500 in
Kingsville to the individual who hired him.
Authorities conducted surveillance at the auto parts
store in Kingsville and observed the tan medium-sized SUV. Levario exited the
SUV and directed where the truck was to be parked. He then paid the driver, at
which time he was placed under arrest. Also taken into custody was Matousek,
who was driving the SUV.
Matousek had been the subject of an investigation
involved with a human smuggling organization affiliated with the Aryan
Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) out of Galveston.
Located inside the SUV, authorities discovered numerous
iPhones, a backpack and jackets which the undocumented aliens later identified
as their property.
The two Brazilians claimed Matousek picked them up
somewhere near Mission and transported them to a stash house. The next day,
Matousek picked them up and brought them to a motel where he explained the
process for them to be smuggled past the checkpoint. There, they also met
Levario who told them he would be the one smuggling them past the checkpoint.
The next morning, Levario transported them in a Ford 500.
He stopped at an abandoned house south of the checkpoint and put both
Brazilians in the trunk of the Ford 500.
Sentencing has been set for July 3, 2019, before U.S.
District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos. At that time, Matousek and Levario face up
to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 maximum possible fine.
Matousek will remain in custody, while Levario was
permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security
Investigations, BP, U.S. Marshals Service and the Kingsville Police Department
all assisted in the joint investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Popejoy
is prosecuting the case.