Two Orem men have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of smuggling immigrant workers across the southern U.S. border and then having them work for their construction company for small amounts of money.
The grand jury handed up indictments Wednesday against Jose Hernan Moreno-Sevilla and Alejandro M. Meza on counts of bringing in illegal aliens and encouraging or inducing illegal aliens to enter the U.S.
According to charging documents, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement encountered a Peruvian citizen who said he had paid both men to obtain an illegal Mexican visa. Sevilla's mother had told the Peruvian "that her son would provide him a better life in America by providing him a place to live and work."
The Peruvian, along with at least two other immigrants, were later smuggled into the country and brought to Orem. The immigrants reportedly paid Sevilla more than $10,000. While living with Sevilla, the men would work 12- to 14-hour days, six days a week, and earned $9,500 annually. Court documents state Sevilla kept most of their earnings to pay back the costs for smuggling and housing them.
Police pulled over a group of workers last November, who told officers they had been living with Sevilla illegally. Court documents show that Sevilla owns approximately 10 homes in Utah County and Meza owns at least six.If convicted, both men face up to 10 years in federal prison for each count. Both men are being held in federal custody on an immigration hold.