TUCSON – Two residents of Sells, Johnson Ortiz, 23, and Regina Ramon, were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to their involvement in Harboring Illegal Aliens for Profit. Ortiz also pleaded guilty to a statutory endangerment enhancement.
Ortiz was sentenced to 80 months in prison and Ramon was sentenced to 60 months in prison.
According to the Department of Justice, on March 18, 2019, a distressed illegal alien who was walking along the road on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, in Sells, was he was contacted by Ortiz and Ramon. They asked what he was doing on the road, and the victim said, “Help me, please. Hospital.” Using a translator app, Ortiz and Ramon agreed to take the victim to the hospital, but instead took him to Ortiz’s and Ramon’s house.
Despite repeated requests for medical attention, Ortiz and Ramon kept the victim at their house and, via a translator app, asked him who in the United States would pay for his further transportation into the United States. While at the house, Ortiz robbed the victim of his wallet, cell phone, and identification at knifepoint. On March 20, 2019, the victim escaped out of a window and was found by a patrolling Tohono O’odham Police officer, who took the victim to the hospital and called Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
After meeting with the victim at the hospital, Special Agents obtained a federal search warrant for the house where the victim had been held and discovered six additional illegal aliens, one an unaccompanied minor, the victim’s belongings, and the knife used during the robbery while searching the house. Each of the illegal aliens found in the house stated that they had made arrangements to be smuggled further into the United States and were to pay upon their arrival at their final destinations.
“We commend the alert and responsive work of the Tohono O’odham Police officer and his collaboration with H.S.I. in the investigation of the case,” said United States Attorney Michael Bailey in a press release. “This case highlights the danger human smugglers present to vulnerable people.”