Human Smuggling Coordinators Sentenced to 45 Months in Prison 

Last week, Ian Esteban Serrano, 27, and Marco Antonio Romero, 22, both from Nogales, Arizona, were each sentenced by United States District Judge Raner C. Collins to 45 months in federal prison.

A sentence of 37 months was imposed for their role in smuggling undocumented noncitizens into the United States, and a consecutive sentence of eight months was imposed for Serrano’s violation of supervised release from a previous conviction for the same offense in 2016 and Romero’s violation of supervised release from a previous conviction for the same offense in 2019.

Romero pleaded guilty on June 2, 2022, and Serrano pleaded guilty on June 9, 2022, both pleading to one count of Conspiracy to Transport and Harbor Illegal Aliens for Profit. Together, Serrano and Romero managed and supervised the human smuggling organization. The co-conspirators coordinated smuggling operations by recruiting drivers and sending them to various locations to pick up or drop off undocumented individuals in the Nogales and Rio Rico communities. Serrano has two prior convictions for the same offense and Romero has one prior conviction for the same offense.

This prosecution resulted from the coordinated efforts of Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA). The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is part of JTFA, which was established by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in June 2021 to marshal the investigative and prosecutorial resources of the Department of Justice, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to enhance U.S. enforcement efforts against the most prolific and dangerous human smuggling and trafficking groups operating in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The Task Force focuses on disrupting and dismantling smuggling and trafficking networks that abuse, exploit, or endanger migrants, pose national security threats, and are involved in organized crime.

The United States Border Patrol, Nogales Station, and Homeland Security Investigations in Nogales, Arizona conducted the investigation in this case. The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.