Local News

Durham brothers plead guilty to trafficking aliens

Posted April 7, 2011

— 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.


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  • mad_dash Apr 8, 2011

    ha ha!

  • rargos Apr 7, 2011

    I made an earlier post about how shocked I was that WRAL actually called them "aliens" instead of "undocumented workers" (the more politically correct term) and it was censored.

    You would think WRAL would have changed the headline to "trafficing in undocumented workers" rather than delete my post. Go figure.

  • Thermoplastic Man Apr 7, 2011

    This is a huge problem in NC. These guys are likely just the tip of the iceberg. I am on jobsites daily, and you can't deny what is before your very eyes: Huge crews of all Mexican workers that don't speak a word of English and look like they haven't been in the country for more than a few weeks. As a legitimate business owner, I can't stand this, but can't make my competetors follow my lead. Hire legitimate workers ONLY!!!

  • rednek Apr 7, 2011

    and this is just the tip of the problem.

  • Mark Hayes Apr 7, 2011

    If there was a reward given for this offense as there is for many other crimes being reported a person could make a pretty good living going from job site to job site.

  • Blueboxinggloves Apr 7, 2011

    Here's my question. Were the 96 framers deported? Somehow, I doubt it. Oh, wait a second, I know! They are "innocent victims" smuggled here against their will...right?!

  • Just the facts mam Apr 7, 2011

    Here is an interesting article comparing illegal vs. illegal workers (will not fit into space allowed):
    Joe Legal vs. Jose Illegal

  • jbarron4950 Apr 7, 2011

    Imagine that. A dozen 8 man teams, 100 jobs going to people who are not American. I am sure we all know citizens who are construction workers taht are looking for work.....gingerlynn

    Do you really think that those jobs would be offered to legal US citizens? Take a look at the following theoretical senario.

    100 x $16/hr = $1,600/hr x 40 hrs = $64,000
    100 x $10/hr = $1,000/hr x 40 hrs = $40,000

    That's a additional profit for the owners of $1,240,000/year. When you add in all of the taxes, insurance and matching contributions that would be paid, by a illegal employer, on a NORMAL payroll this figure gets even higher. The illegal workers are also paying the illegal employer back for the advancement to get here. The $500,000 fine and forfeiture have just made a small dent in profits made from 2004-2010 = $7,488,000. And this is probably a conservative figure. Also, how much of this money is being spent in America as opposed to Mexico and Latin America countries? This is part of the reaso

  • 6869735 Apr 7, 2011

    And who was it that contracted "A dozen 8 man teams"? Crime trickles uphill.

  • anneonymousone Apr 7, 2011

    Are the same fines levied against American-owned companies who seek to skirt American labor laws and environmental regulations by shipping the plants and jobs elsewhere but don't object to making money by selling their products to Americans?

    Corporations may have fancy ways of dancing around the morality of what they do, but they, too, commit inexcuseable thievery against the American people and economy.