Three citizens from Mexico who were living in Aberdeen and Federal Way without legal status were sentenced to prison March 8 in U.S. District Court in Seattle for conspiracy to violate immigration laws for financial gain
Miguel Arcef-Flores, 42, was sentenced to 40 months in prison; Angel Sandoval Mondragon, 37, was sentenced to 36 months in prison; and Marbella Sandoval Mondragon, 38, was sentenced to 34 months in prison. Following their incarceration each will likely be deported from the United States.
U.S. District Judge James L. Robart imposed the sentences, saying that the “extreme and abusive conduct of the defendants” took the case “well outside the heartland of the typical alien smuggling case.”
According to records filed in the case and evidence before the court, in December 2004, Angel Sandoval Mondragon recruited his then 14-year-old niece to travel with him from Mexico into the United States. Angel Sandoval Mondragon promised the young girl a better life with an education and a home with his family. In early 2005, he smuggled the young teen across the border from Mexico, and she was taken to a shared home with the defendants’ five children and another teenage niece, who had previously been smuggled into the United States. The young girl was then informed that she would not be enrolling in school, but was instead expected to work to pay off a smuggling debt, according to the press release. The girl and her teenage cousin were returned to Mexico in 2006 after she was not physically capable of working, but she was told she still owed the defendants money.
According to the release, in 2009, Marbella Sandoval Mondragon recruited her two younger brothers, both of whom were juveniles, to travel from Mexico to live with her and Arcef-Flores in the Seattle area. After the juveniles arrived they were told they had incurred smuggling debts and had to repay her.
All three defendants were indicted in December 2015 and have been in custody since their arrests on Dec. 7, 2015.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Seattle Police Department, the Federal Way Police Department and the Aberdeen Police Department. The Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division also assisted with restitution calculations.