Did a Terrorist Just Get a Plea Deal?


The twice-deported illegal alien who plotted a Chicago truck bombing with two of the FBI’s “most wanted” terrorists has received a sweetheart plea deal for yet another violation of U.S. federal law 18 USC § 1326 (Unlawful Reentry of a Removed Alien).

In a federal court hearing covered by Judicial Watch, Hector Pedroza-Huerta appeared before the same judge—Frank Montalvo in El Paso, Texas—that also presided over another one of his immigration cases in 2009. After conducting an off-the-record meeting with Pedroza-Huerta’s attorneys, Judge Montalvo issued concurrent sentences of eight and 15 months with no deportation or supervised release for the illegal immigrant.

A restricted court record, labeled “Sealed Statement of Reasons as to Hector Pedroza Huerta,” in Judge Montalvo’s proceedings, probably contains the facts the American public deserves to know about Pedroza-Huerta’s criminality – and perhaps even his pledges of future cooperation with law enforcement and counterterror officials.

Pedroza-Huerta’s latest arrest, reported by Judicial Watch back in August, was for driving under the influence, a crime he has been twice convicted of (in 2009 and 2011). Deportations supposedly followed the convictions, thus the two charges of Unlawful Reentry of a Removed Alien before this one. In this most recent DUI, the feds quickly took over, charging Pedroza-Huerta for the third time in five years with “reentry of a deported alien,” according to court records obtained by Judicial Watch.

The recent plea hearing in Judge Montalvo’s courtroom, held in mid-December, was punctuated by events that a veteran law enforcement officer confirmed to be “irregular” in such proceedings. Pedroza-Huerta’s hearing was the last of five and by far the shortest of the morning. Judge Montalvo came off the bench and met with Pedroza-Huerta’s two defense attorneys , off-the-record, for several minutes – in his courtroom and in private side meetings not entered into official court records. The federal prosecutor sat in the courtroom and watched this all happen, without participating in any way.

Judge Montalvo returned to the bench. Pedroza-Huerta’s lawyers went back to their table and said they were ready to proceed. Judge Montalvo simply announced that Pedroza-Huerta was to receive two sentences of eight and 15 months – to be served concurrently. No deportation. No supervised release. Judicial Watch has obtained the official court transcript.

This was the only case of the day with no plea or argument, no supervised release, no rebuttal from the defendant or the federal prosecutor about the sentence, terms, or conditions. Pedroza-Huerta was the only defendant that the judge had no questions for other than to ascertain that the charges were for two illegal re-entries into the United States.

The federal plea deal was followed by a February 6, 2015 plea deal for last year’s “Driving While Intoxicated” charges before Judge Thomas A. Spieczny of the El Paso County Court. Judicial Watch also covered that hearing. Pedroza-Huerta was sentenced to 50 days, time served.

The good news is that Pedroza-Huerta is still incarcerated. Unfortunately, his side-kick, fellow narco-terror ringleader Emad Karakrah, appears to be on the loose following his recent release from the Cook County Jail.

The connection between Pedroza-Huerta and Karakrah is through both their terror-bombing plotting and their personal lives. Karakrah’s ex-wife, Sandra, introduced him to her then-best friend “Cindy” (now deceased) who was romantically involved with Hector Pedroza-Huerta.

The motto of Judicial Watch is “Because no one is above the law”. To this end, Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws and other tools to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities.