On Thursday, an eighty-five year old woman was sentenced to two and one half years in prison. She was the leader of a female dominated immigrant smuggling operation. The eighty-five year old woman, Felcitas Gurrola, is being charged with moving eight people past border inspectors each month by having false identities. The charge is officially conspiracy to bring illegal aliens into the U.S. The method that she was using was safe compared to some of the more common tactics like stuffing them in car trunks.
It was a very system that was well organized and no person was every in danger. The prosecutors were arguing that she should have gotten more than 3 years in prison. They claimed that she was a smuggler that was high leveled when you compared her to the lower operatives that are usually caught. She led the operation along with another woman and her daughter, who also were sentenced. Her daughter also got two and a half years, and the other woman, who managed the hotel in Tijuana used as the staging area, got 3 years and 1 month. She also had others who helped with the operation including guides and people who helped prepare them for their journey.
These small organizations that were family run use to be the dominating force of the business of immigrant smuggling have slowly disappeared in the past ten years. Once the immigrants that she smuggled to the United States arrived in the Los Angles area she collected three thousand five hundred dollars from each person. In 1982 she was indicted but never arrested on the charges of immigrant smuggling. She boasted that she has been in the smuggling business for longer than forty years.