Man found guilty of transporting aliens after deputies stop car on Mississippi interstate overloaded with passengers
Published 6:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2022
A Mexican man was found guilty of multiple federal felonies related to smuggling illegal aliens.
Abel Michua-Tototzin, 37, was found guilty on August 17, 2022, following a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Taylor McNeel in Gulfport. Michua-Tototzin was found guilty of conspiracy to bring one or more aliens into the United States at a place other than a designated port of entry; conspiracy to unlawfully transport aliens within the United States; unlawful transportation of one or more aliens within the United States; and unlawful return of an alien to the United States after deportation or removal.
Michua-Tototzin faces maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his conspiracy convictions; 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and $5,100 in special assessments for his conviction of unlawful transportation; and 2 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for unlawful return after deportation or removal. After completing any sentence of incarceration, he is subject to Homeland Security proceedings to remove him again from the U.S. Judge McNeel will determine his sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing is scheduled for November 21, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. in Gulfport.
On April 27, 2022, a Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy conducted a traffic stop on a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe bearing a North Carolina license plate on I-10 eastbound. The driver, Michua-Totozin, and his four passengers only had identification from Mexico; but, because the U.S. Border Patrol could not respond, Michua-Tototzin was released. After their release, the Border Patrol determined that Michua-Tototzin and his passengers all had been illegally present in the U.S.
On May 17, 2022, the Border Patrol stopped the same vehicle traveling eastbound on I-10 again and being driven by Michua-Tototzin. He did not have a driver’s license and was found, along with his six passengers, to be illegally present in the U.S. The vehicle was overloaded by two persons, with seat belts for only five people.
U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca, of the Southern District of Mississippi, Jason E. Schneider, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s New Orleans Sector, and David Denton, Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, in New Orleans, made the announcement.
U.S. Attorney LaMarca praised the investigative efforts and coordination of the Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.