Ranch owner guilty of smuggling undocumented immigrants

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SAN DIEGO — A Potrero ranch owner was convicted Wednesday of using her property to sneak undocumented immigrants into the United States for payments of thousands of dollars each.

The panel found Kala D. Rains, 47, guilty of seven criminal counts of conspiracy and human smuggling following a trial in San Diego federal court. Additionally, the jurors ruled that her ranch should be forfeited to the government.

Prosecutors presented evidence of videotaped undercover meetings, audio recordings and telephonic evidence to build their case against Rains. The jury also heard from immigrants who testified that they had to pay between $6,500 and $7,500 to Rains and her fellow conspirators as smuggling fees.

Co-defendants Caroline Haro Espindola, Jose Maria Partida-Esquivel and Alexander Flores previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme.

Rains faces up to 10 years in prison per count and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 27.

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