A Cuban man has been sentenced to 13 months in prison and fined $5,000 for transporting undocumented immigrants authorities found with him in a traffic stop.
After Yunier Hurtado de Armas serves his time, he’s to be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings, a judgment entered in court records Monday shows.
Armas, 30, and his six passengers were arrested April 27 on Interstate 10 by a Border Patrol agent and a member of the Jackson County Metro Interdiction Team. The traffic stop was near the Moss Point/Pascagoula exit.
Armas was driving a Chrysler Pacifica registered to a man previously suspected in an immigrant smuggling ring, a court paper said. Armas told investigators he was driving his passengers from Houston to Miami for construction work, a Border Patrol agent said in an affidavit.
Armas and the men admitted they were in the U.S. without authorization. Some of them said they’d entered the U.S. near Eagle Pass, Texas, four days earlier. Three passengers are from Mexico. One is from Honduras and two are from Guatemala.
Armas has lived in the U.S. about 1½ years and is the sole source of support for his wife and her child, a document said.
A federal grand jury indicted him May 17.
Armas wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden before sentencing, but Armas did not ask the judge for mercy. He asked for God to give him strength to overcome his obstacles.
Armas said his family is “the most important thing in my life. And, because of the mistake I have made, they have suffered greatly because of it and they are prisoners with me. That is the part that torments me.”