Donna man convicted of smuggling Chinese nationals

A Donna man has been convicted by a federal jury for an arrest dating back to 2018, when he was found transporting several Chinese nationals who did not have documentation to be in the United States, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Federico Espinosa-Flores, 49, was arrested at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Sarita on Dec. 21, 2018. He was charged with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to unlawfully transport undocumented immigrants. The trial lasted two days.

According to the release, at approximately 7:40 a.m., Espinosa-Flores drove a white Ford cargo van disguised as an adult daycare business and entered the primary inspection lane. Authorities began to notice that he exhibited signs of nervousness, such as avoiding eye contact and displaying trembling hands, the release read.

Espinosa-Flores consented to a search which resulted in the discovery of 10 people in the rear cargo area of the vehicle. Six of them were identified as Chinese nationals. The release did not identify the nationalities of the other four people in the vehicle.

The trial was presided over by senior U.S. District Judge John Rainey, and sentencing is set for Dec. 16. Espinosa-Flores faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.