Mexican national pleads guilty to smuggling conspiracy

FARGO – Rodolfo Arzola-Carrillo, 39, Tifton, Georgia, pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to the offense of conspiracy to transport unauthorized aliens.

Arzola-Carrillo was arrested and charged in November of 2022 for conspiring, coordinating and smuggling a group of seven undocumented noncitizens from Mexico, including two minor children, through the Canadian border into North Dakota. The plan had been to travel through the United States to Georgia, but the group was halted by harsh winter weather, which forced them to seek assistance from the Pembina County Sheriff’s Office. U.S. Border Patrol were soon alerted.

“As this case and others have shown, attempting to smuggle human beings across the northern border is not just illegal and exploitative, it is also a threat to human life,” U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider said. “The U.S. Attorney’s office will continue working with the U.S. Border Patrol and our partners in federal, state and local law enforcement to hold smugglers accountable, maintain the rule of law, and keep people safe.”

Arzola-Carrrillo was sentenced by Chief Judge Peter Welte, who imposed a sentence of 18 months in federal prison, one-year supervised release and $100 special assessment. His co-defendant in the case, Ernesto Falcon Jr., is set to enter a change of plea and has a sentencing hearing on Aug. 21.

“The collaboration between law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case was outstanding,” Chief Patrol AGent Scott Garrett said. “This incident is a testament to our long-standing partnership with the Pembina County Sheriff’s Office. Human smuggling can be very dangerous and I’m glad that this came to a successful law enforcement resolution. As a reminder, anyone who puts their lives in the hands of a smuggler, is putting their life, and the lives of their family at risk.”

This case was investigated by the Border Patrol, with assistance from the Pembina County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Rodenbiker.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today