A convicted people smuggler who had been arrested 24 times dating back to 1999 was sentenced to prison for the first time on Friday.
Efrain Delgado-Rosales, 35, was sentenced to five years in jail by a federal judge in San Diego for bringing an illegal alien into the U.S. for financial gain.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Border Patrol agents spotted Delgado-Rosales leading a group of four illegal immigrants through California's Otay Mountains this past November. The men told the agents that Delgado-Rosales had picked them up from a stash house in Tijuana, brought them to the U.S.-Mexico border and left them on the Mexico side for several hours.
During their wait, the men said theives robbed them of their money and cell phones. When Delgado-Rosales returned, his indifference to their situation led the four men to believed he had been involved in the robbery.
After the men crossed into the U.S., they claimed, three of them dropped back, unable to keep up with Delgado-Rosales' pace. The smuggler only turned back for the stragglers when the fourth man begged him to do so.
Delgado-Rosales was identified as the guide in a similar incident in August 2014, during which one of the men being smuggled died.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Delgado-Rosales was first arrested on July 19, 1999. On 23 of the 24 occasions he was arrested, Delgado-Rosales was accompanied by at least two and as many as 46 illegal immigrants. In 2003, he was arrested in Los Angeles with 61 illegal immigrants.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandra Foster told CNN that after each of his previous arrests, Delgado-Rosales was deported to his home country of Mexico.