LUBBOCK, TX -- Ricardo Suar-Gonzales, 30, of Guatemala pleaded guilty in Lubbock federal court Tuesday to a felony charge of harboring illegal aliens.
In April, Muleshoe Police received an anonymous phone call that people were locked in a storm cellar at a residence in the 200 block of West Avenue E. Lt. Benny Parker says while on the property, he spotted the door to a small storm cellar in the backyard.
"I opened it up, and discovered three individuals and on a dirt floor," Parker says. "It was very small, maybe 3 foot by 4 foot, had a couch in there. There was water running everywhere. Very, very poor conditions."
Parker says the three individuals were all men, between the ages of 17-25.
Court records said, “Suar-Gonzales instructed the undocumented aliens to go inside the storm cellar. … Suar-Gonzales placed a padlock on the door and locked the undocumented aliens inside the storm cellar.”
Court records also said, “The defendants locked the undocumented aliens in the storm cellar because the full payment of their smuggling fee had not been received.”
“Suar-Gonzales admitted that he expected to receive monetary compensation in exchange for harboring and concealing the undocumented aliens.”
The official records indicated that Suar-Gonzales did provide them food before locking them up.
Court records identified Lidia Gomez-Yucute, 47, also of Guatemala, as Suar-Gonzales’ co-defendant. The criminal charge against her was still pending Wednesday. Both Suar-Gonzales and Gomez-Yucute were held in the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Suar-Gonzales will be sentenced at a later date to no more than 10 years in prison.