Woman found guilty of harboring, transporting illegal immigrants - WNEM TV 5

Woman found guilty of harboring, transporting illegal immigrants

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A local woman has been found guilty of harboring and transporting illegal immigrants for profit.

Irene Martinez-Gonzales, 73, was charged with nine counts of taking advantage of the workers from 2008 to 2016. Prosecutors said the crimes took place at dairy farms in the Thumb-area. 

Gonzales was accused of helping farm operators and owners keep the workers on the farms by cashing the workers' paychecks, taking the workers to buy groceries, taking them to medical appointments and helping them wire money back to their home counties. 

Gonzales then charged the workers for those services. 

"I assumed that some of them didn't have papers," she testified.

During closing arguments Thursday, the prosecutor outlined testimony from government informants that she said proved Martinez-Gonzales was in it for the money.

In a recorded conversation, Martinez-Gonzales told an informant, "If you're going to give them $170 only then you have to give the rest to me because I'm looking for work for them and I have to live off that. So you have to give me $30."

Martinez-Gonzales' lawyer said she openly took workers to shop in local stores and didn't harbor anyone..

Gonzales is set to be scheduled in April. She could face up to 40 years in prison. 

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