Woman who attempted to sneak girl into US set for sentencing

McALLEN — A U.S. citizen who attempted to sneak a minor girl into the country from Mexico is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, court records show.

Sylvia Carla Plata is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez Wednesday afternoon for her sentencing hearing related to her August arrest at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.

Plata, who also uses the alias Sylvia Carla Mendes, was arrested Aug. 21, during an attempt to enter the U.S. with the minor, who’s from Mexico. Using her own child’s birth certificate, the defendant claimed the girl was her daughter, but was not and did not have legal status to enter the country, the complaint filed against Plata states.

She was traveling into the U.S. when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers began asking questions about the girl. Plata was the driver of the vehicle carrying the aforementioned minor, believed to be 13 years old, as well as her adult cousin.

“At primary (inspection), (Plata) claimed the child as her own and presented a State of Georgia Certificate of Live Birth bearing the name K.M. as proof,” the court record shows. “She also presented State of Georgia birth certificates for her two minor children.”

The car was sent for a secondary inspection after CBP officers called the young girl by her name, “A.D.G.D.,” and she didn’t respond.

Initially, Plata remained adamant that all the passengers in the vehicle were her children, until she recanted.

“Upon further inspection, the defendant admitted that she was not the child’s mother and that the child was in fact a citizen of Mexico born in Veracruz,” the complaint states. “The defendant stated that she only knows the child’s first name as A.”

Plata told CBP officers she was approached by the child’s mother in Georgia, who propositioned her to make a trip to Mexico and bring her daughter back to the U.S. with her — offering up to $1,000 for her to do so.

“She claimed that the child’s mother gave her the idea of using her true child’s birth certificate to facilitate A.D.G.D.’s entry,” the record states.

Eventually, Plata admitted to using the child’s father’s vehicle to drive to Reynosa, Mexico, the same day they were stopped at the bridge attempting to enter the country.

“She claimed she drove to the child’s aunt’s house where she took custody of the child,” the record shows. “(Plata) stated that she was bringing the child into the United States as a favor to her friend as she seemed desperate to reunite with her child.”

Plata admitted to receiving $1,000 for food and travel expenses.