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Leader of LA-Based Human Smuggling Ring Gets 25 Years

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The leader of a human smuggling ring with ties the Avenues street gang was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison this week.

Eduardo "Tito" Alvarez-Marquez, 37, of Glassell Park, was sentenced by United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez. The 25-year sentence is one of the longest prison terms ever imposed locally in an "alien smuggling case."

The Alvarez-Marquez smuggling organization was responsible for bringing at least 200 illegal aliens a year into the U.S., and received up to $4,500 in smuggling fees for each individual. In one incident described to the jury, Alvarez-Marquez refused to release an ailing 3-month-old infant to its family until a $1,200 smuggling fee was paid. The Alvarez-Marquez organization was also found responsible for a July 2009 smuggling incident in which 26 people were discovered locked inside a freezer truck in Imperial.

Alvarez-Marquez was also convicted on charges of conspiracy to smuggle the matriarch of the Drew Street clique of the Avenues street gang, Maria Leon, back into the country after her son engaged in a shootout with the LAPD. Leon is currently serving a 100-month federal prison sentence for racketeering crimes related to the Avenues street gang.

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Six other defendants in the case were given sentences ranging from 33- to 70 months.

photo by abardwell via flickr.