Roma woman from family of smugglers sentenced

McALLEN — A Roma woman from a family of smugglers was sentenced to more than a year in prison Monday after being caught attempting to smuggle undocumented immigrants earlier this year.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Myrna Elena Cisneros, to a 15-month sentence in connection with a late January incident where federal agents found her transporting undocumented immigrants, according to court records.

The sentence comes a few months after the woman pleaded guilty to one count of bringing in and harboring aliens, in exchange the government dropped two additional counts of the same charge.

Cisneros’ case began after she was turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents during a traffic stop Jan. 28, 2017, with Roma police.

During that stop, an officer noticed three undocumented immigrants, later identified as Guatemalan citizens, inside the vehicle driven by Cisneros, the criminal complaint states.

Cisneros admitted to working, along with a friend to transport the immigrants to an unknown location for $150, the complaint states.

At first Cisneros told agents that her friend merely wanted to use her car to transport the immigrants, but instead she ended up driving the trio after they were dropped off at a nearby store.

She said during the trip to the unidentified drop off location she was subsequently pulled over by a Roma police officer.

Crane, in handing down the sentence, mentioned Cisneros’ prior conviction and three prior apprehensions, all for bringing in and harboring aliens more than 10 years ago.

Back in 2006 Cisneros, who was the driver in a vehicle carrying undocumented immigrants, was arrested in Roma along with her mother Maria Marta Cisneros, who was 63 years old at the time, attempting to smuggle three undocumented immigrants from Mexico, a 2007 criminal complaint shows.

U.S. Border Patrol agents, in a subsequent raid of the intended stash house, found more than 30 undocumented immigrants inside, the complaint states.

Cisneros pleaded guilty to one count of transporting an alien for financial gain in that instance and was sentenced to finish out her sentence with jail time credit served, records show.

But on Monday, as the 39-year-old pleaded with Crane for another chance, he reminded her of her last conviction and the reputation of several of her family members, including her husband, who has also been convicted of separate federal charges.

Crane, despite acknowledging the difficulty of separating her from her family’s involvement in crime, said he hoped the sentence would reinforce the importance of never committing the same act again.

“I appreciate how hard it must be to get away from this,” Crane said. “You haven’t had the best role models, or family dynamics — but I hope this sentence is a lesson.”

After Cisneros completes her 15-month prison sentence she will be placed on supervision for 3 years.