The accused leader of an immigrant-smuggling ring has been ordered to serve time in prison for his role in the deaths of 11 illegal immigrants — found in a rail car near Denison in October of 2002. Juan Fernando Licea-Cedillo of Mexico was sentenced yesterday (Monday) by a federal court judge in Houston to more than 24 years in prison. Prosecutors say Licea-Cedillo bought information about Texas rail schedules from a former Union Pacific conductor. Licea-Cedillo had tried to withdraw his guilty plea to conspiring to transport and harbor illegal immigrants, but a federal judge determined the plea would stand and ordered prison time for 24 years and four months. Ex-conductor Arnulfo Flores Jr. of Kingville was sentenced to three years and five months in prison. Flores pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport illegal immigrants and cooperated with prosecutors.
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