McALLEN — A United States citizen who attempted to smuggle her boyfriend into the U.S. for a weekend shopping trip was sentenced last week.
Michelle Lizeth Sanchez, who was born in the U.S. but lives in Reynosa, was sentenced to time served and an additional five months of home confinement Friday for her role in an attempt to bring her boyfriend, Oscar Ulises Delgadillo-Garza, into the country through a port of entry.
Appearing nervous moments before she faced her punishment, the 21-year-old Sanchez twice made the sign of the cross.
Sanchez was arrested five months ago attempting to enter the U.S. with her two young children while her boyfriend was hidden in the trunk of her vehicle. Upon a secondary inspection, Customs and Border Protection officers discovered Delgadillo-Garza.
Sanchez’s public defender, Nadia S. Medrano, said her client had made a mistake that day in late March, when Delgadillo-Garza asked her to sneak him in so he could join her and her children for a day of shopping.
Medrano underscored to U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez that the case did not include several undocumented persons, or a scheme in which Sanchez profited from. Instead, she said it was a mistake by a young woman who was remorseful.
“From the very beginning she’s been embarrassed,” Medrano said.
Alvarez noted the court’s concern that the defendant involved her two young children in the incident and pointed out that stuffing her boyfriend in her vehicle’s trunk was unsafe.
Delgadillo-Garza, 26, does not have legal status to be in the country, and was previously convicted of a felony and deported, court records show.
Sanchez told authorities she knew Delgadillo-Garza was undocumented and a convicted felon because he was her boyfriend, the criminal complaint states. It does not state how long they had been dating.
“The defendant admitted that she knowingly attempted to smuggle Delgadillo-Garza into the United States in the trunk of her car,” the complaint states.
Sanchez apologized to the court, and said her time in custody impressed upon her that she didn’t want to return to jail.
“I want to better myself, for me and my family,” Sanchez said in Spanish.
She pleaded guilty to the bringing in and harboring charge on May 31, court records show.
Sanchez’s punishment also includes three years of supervised release upon completion of her five-month home confinement.