Durham brothers plead guilty to trafficking aliens
Posted April 7, 2011
New Bern, N.C. — Two Durham men pleaded guilty Wednesday to bringing immigrants illegally from Mexico for their home construction business, federal authorities said.
Jose Lopez and Juan Antonio Lopez own J&A Framers Carpentry Inc., which has about a dozen eight-person framing crews. The brothers notified people in their hometown that they needed workers and loaned people money to cover the cost of being smuggled into the U.S., authorities said. The brothers also rented rooms to the illegal workers.
The operation ran from 2004 until last December, authorities said.
The brothers each pleaded guilty to conspiring to conceal, harbor and shield illegal aliens. As part of the pleas, they agreed to forfeit $250,000 to the government.
They will be sentenced later, when they face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.