By Margaret Arnold
The Glassell Park-based head of a human smuggling ring with ties to the Avenues street gang has been handed a stiff sentence in Federal Court. His parents have also been convicted of crimes related to participation in the ring.
Eduardo “Tito” Alvarez-Marquez, age 37, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was convicted last September of conspiracy to smuggle into the United States aliens who were previously convicted of aggravated felonies and of harboring an illegal alien. He had already pleaded guilty to another alien-smuggling conspiracy. According to a statement released by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Alvarez-Marquez’ sentence is one of the longest prison terms ever imposed in a human smuggling case.
Alvarez-Marquez’ father, Teodoro Alvarez-Estrada, 58, of Los Angeles, is among eight others who have been sentenced for roles in the smuggling ring, He has been sentenced to 188 months on human smuggling and drug trafficking charges.
Alvarez-Marquez’ mother, Aquilina Alvarez, 57, of Glassell Park, has been sentenced to 57 months.
According to ICE, the smuggling ring headed by Alvarez-Marquez was responsible for bringing at least 200 undocumented people per year, who paid up to $4,500 each in fees, into the United States.
In one incident, Alvarez-Marquez refused to release an ailing 3-month-old infant to its family until a $1,200 smuggling fee was paid. In another incident, the smuggling organization locked 26 people inside a freezer truck in Imperial, California.
Alvarez-Marquez most famous client was Maria León, matriarch of the Avenues street gang Drew Street clique. (Leon is serving a 100 month prison sentence. The Leon house on Drew Street was declared a nuisance property by the City and torn down. The site is about to become a community garden.)