Smuggler Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault of Migrant, 17, He Led Across Border

Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A man pleaded guilty in San Diego Thursday to human smuggling charges, which included admitting to sexually assaulting an undocumented teen he was bringing into the U.S.

Cecilio Jimenez-Bautista, 27, said in a federal plea agreement that he acted as a guide for the unaccompanied girl and other migrants traveling from Mexico. Prosecutors say migrants paid anywhere from $5,000 to $9,500 each to be brought across the border.

In June of last year, Jimenez-Bautista and his brother brought 10 people, including the girl, from Tijuana to Chula Vista, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors say Jimenez-Bautista “isolated the juvenile from the group” and inappropriately touched her without permission on two separate days. On another occasion, he sexually assaulted her, leaving her with serious injuries, prosecutors said.

The group was eventually arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents about two miles north of the border, according to the plea agreement.

Jimenez-Bautista is slated to be sentenced in January.

U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath said in a statement, “The defendant had no regard for this child’s humanity. The brutal victimization of a 17-year-old minor is yet another example of the cruelty of smugglers who care only about profit.”

– City News Service