Honduran convicted in Houston immigrant smuggling

HOUSTON

Sentencing has been set for Oct. 9 for 35-year-old Cesar Avila.

Prosecutors in Houston said Wednesday that Avila was convicted of hostage-taking conspiracy, four counts of hostage taking, one count of using a firearm during a violent crime and four counts of aiding and abetting the harboring of illegal immigrants.

Avila faces up to life in prison over an incident last August when a 911 caller reported being held against his will in a house.

Houston police located the house, where several hostages inside identified Avila as the smuggler. Other victims told police that the smugglers had demanded more than the original transportation payment before releasing them.

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