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Sioux City man sentenced to 18 months for smuggling immigrants

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - A Sioux City man will spend the next year and a half in prison for smuggling immigrants into the United States from Guatemala with wife.

On Friday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Cristobal Francisco-Nicolas was sentenced to 18 months in prison on a pair of charges: encouraging an alien to come to or enter the United States, and unlawful possession of identification documents. Francisco-Nicolas previously pleaded guilty to the charges back in December of 2019.

Back in March of this year, his wife Amy Francisco was sentenced to one year in prison on one count of encouraging an alien to come to or enter the United States.

According to court documents, on May 29, 2019, a then-17-year-old girl and her father allegedly crossed the U.S./Mexico border and were arrested by US Border Patrol Agents. On May 30, due to a lack of space at the El Paso Detention Center, they were released from custody on an Order of Recognizance and Supervision.

On May 31, 2019, court documents claim surveillance video shows they flew to Omaha, Neb., where they were allegedly picked up by Francisco and Francisco-Nicolas and taken to Sioux City.

On June 5, 2019, court documents claim after being raped five times, the victim said Francisco-Nicolas left for work and did not lock the door. That’s when the victim ran out of the house looking for someone who spoke Spanish to help her. This is when Sioux City Police found her and she told them she had been sexually assaulted.

Sioux City Police say they immediately informed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of the case, and HSI took over the investigation.

Court documents say after the victim was interviewed on June 13, 2019, six days later Sioux City Police executed a search warrant at the couple’s home on Hamilton Boulevard.

People at that home were interviewed by police. One of the people told police the couple helped approximately 10 family members and friends, who have traveled to the U.S. from Guatemala.

The couple was arrested on July 10, 2019, at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego.

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Blake Branch

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