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Border & Immigration

Three Plead Guilty To Smuggling Immigrants By Plane

Three California natives pleaded guilty to smuggling immigrants through a hole in the U.S.-Mexico border fence and then transporting them inland via private plane. The three defendants face five years in prison each.

According to the indictment, the group smuggled undocumented immigrants through the border fence near Calexico, then took them to a stash house in El Centro.

From there, the immigrants would be taken to the Imperial County Airport and then flown on private planes to airports in the Los Angeles area.

The flights let smugglers and immigrants bypass U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints. Immigrants paid up to $10,000 for the service, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy announced the guilty plea on Feb. 3. Sentencing is scheduled for April.