The first guilty verdict of an illegal migrant netted under Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border program was delivered this week.
Lester Hidalgo Aguilar of Honduras – but with a criminal history in the U.S. – was found guilty of criminal trespass on a local ranch and sentenced one year, the maximum penalty, The Epoch Times reported Tuesday.
Aguilar was spared the $4,000 fine by the judge, but he was put on the hook for $290 in court costs, according to the report.
“I thought he would get off,” Cheryl Gabler Tomlin, whose family’s ranch was where Aguilar was arrested, told the Times. “I’m happy.”
It took less than 20 minutes for the local jury to deliver the guilty verdict, according to the report.
Abbott’s program has directed state law enforcement officials to arrest trespassers on state or private land as the state has been unsatisfied with President Joe Biden’s border policies permitting illegal migrants to cross the border from Mexico into Texas.
Until Monday’s verdict, all those arrested has plead out of trial.
Operation Lone Star arrests have been more prevalent in Kinney County, which is in the Del Rio sector of the Texas-Mexico border, where most illegal immigration gotaways have been reported due to lax border security by the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security.
There were more than 16,000 gotaways in the Del Rio sector in April alone, the Times reported from Customs and Border Protection data.
Aguilar has already served eight months since his Sept. 13, 2021, arrest and has just four months left to serve.
“I’m very satisfied with what the jury concluded,” Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith told the Times. “I don’t see it providing much incentive for others to go to trial, when they see they can get one year of jail time.”
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