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Woman who recruited truckers for human smuggling scheme sentenced to federal prison

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A Texas woman has been sentenced to prison on charges related to recruiting truckers to participate in a human smuggling scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Maria Rivera-Maldonad, 58, was ordered to serve 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Rivera-Maldonad pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens in September 2020.

The charges against Rivera-Maldonad stem from an incident that occurred on July 3, 2020 when law enforcement discovered 52 illegal immigrants inside of a semi trailer in Laredo.

Rivera-Maldonad was arrested at that time as the driver of a “scout” vehicle for the semi.

After further investigation, authorities learned that Rivera-Maldonad recruited truck drivers to drive to Laredo as part of a human smuggling scheme.

From March 2019 to July 2020, truck drivers recruited by Rivera-Maldonad reportedly smuggled more than 100 humans in their vehicles.

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