Human Smuggling Stash House Coordinators Sentenced to Combined 220 Months in Prison
Angelico Roa-Joachin, age 43, of Mexico, was sentenced on April 21, 2023, by United States District Judge Jennifer G. Zipps to 78 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Roa-Joachin was convicted of Conspiracy to Transport and Harbor Illegal Aliens for Profit and Reentry of a Removed Alien.
Judge Zipps sentenced three other co-conspirators in 2022. Co-conspirator Rafael Hernandez-Garcia, age 35, of Mexico, was also sentenced to 78 months in federal prison. Additional co-defendants Luis Alberto Calixto-Pegueros, age 25, and Alexis Mejia-Zamora, age 26, both of Mexico, were sentenced to 37 months, and 27 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the conspiracy.
On April 22, 2021, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents executed a search warrant at two human smuggling stash houses in Phoenix, Arizona, and apprehended Roa-Joachin, Hernandez-Garcia, Calixto-Pegueros, and Mejia-Zamora, along with over 30 undocumented non-citizens. Agents seized firearms, cash, and ledgers detailing smuggling activities.
The HSI investigation revealed that the organization regularly moved hundreds of undocumented non-citizens through the two stash houses. The individuals were often held in overcrowded conditions and were not permitted to leave until their families or sponsors paid the smuggling organization for their release.
Judge Zipps further found that Roa-Joachin, Hernandez-Garcia, and Calixto-Pegueros sexually coerced or sexually assaulted at least one female undocumented non-citizen who was being held at the stash houses, which resulted in a sentence enhancement.
This prosecution resulted from the coordinated efforts of Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA). The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is part of JTFA, which was established by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in June 2021 to marshal the investigative and prosecutorial resources of the Department of Justice, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to enhance U.S. enforcement efforts against the most prolific and dangerous human smuggling and trafficking groups operating in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The Task Force focuses on disrupting and dismantling smuggling and trafficking networks that abuse, exploit, or endanger migrants, pose national security threats, and are involved in organized crime.
Homeland Security Investigations – Douglas Office conducted the investigation in this case, with assistance from the Phoenix Police Department. The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.