Immigrant smuggler caught 23 times by Border Patrol gets prison time

A career smuggler nabbed while guiding four immigrants through the Otay Mountains last year was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.

U.S. Border Patrol agents had caught Efrain Delgado Rosales with undocumented immigrants 23 times in less than 17 years, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

His latest encounter came in November, when agents spotted the 35-year-old guiding the foursome through rugged East County terrain.

The four men told authorities that Delgado had picked them up at a stash house in Mexico, led them to the border then left them for several hours. As they waited, thieves turned up and robbed them of all of their cash — thousands of dollars.

Delgado returned and — indifferent to the robbery — guided them over the border and through the mountains. While hiking, he left behind three men who could not keep his pace.

At the begging of the fourth man, he eventually returned to collect the distressed trio, each of whom had paid $5,000 to be smuggled into the country.

Federal prosecutors said agents have apprehended Delgado 24 times since 1999, and in all but one instance, he was found with at least two and up to 46 undocumented immigrants.

Teri Figueroa writes for the San Diego Union Tribune.

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