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Iowa Construction Company Owner Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

A woman who owned Xtreme Construction Company in Iowa City with her husband, an illegal alien, was sentenced March 12, 2012, to serve 18 months in federal prison for harboring and conspiring to harbor illegal alien workers.

Samira Zuniga, 34, received the prison term after an August 29, 2011, guilty plea to one count of harboring and transporting an alien and one count of conspiracy to transport, harbor, encourage, and induce aliens to reside in the United States.

On April 26, 2011, nine illegal alien workers were performing work for Zuniga on a roofing job in Hiawatha. Zuniga provided workers to the construction company that contracted the work and agreed to not compete with the construction company within eastern Iowa. The workers were arrested by immigration authorities.

Within three days of the arrests, Zuniga, her two children, and her husband, a Mexican citizen, fled the United States for Mexico. Before leaving Iowa, Zuniga and her husband withdrew more than $17,000 in multiple transactions from multiple bank accounts. Zuniga’s children and husband have not returned to Iowa City.

On about June 20, 2011, Zuniga was found again in Iowa City. Zuniga was determined to have crossed the Mexican border on June 18 with two elderly couples and was found in the process of emptying the contents of her trailer home into a van and enclosed cargo trailer. Zuniga told people she was planning on moving with her family to Mexico. Zuniga was arrested on June 21, 2011, at the time a federal search warrant was executed at her residence.

Zuniga was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Zuniga was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and a special assessment of $200 was imposed. At sentencing, United States District Court Chief Judge Linda Reade increased Zuniga’s sentence after finding Zuniga had attempted to obstruct justice by misrepresenting facts to the court and probation office and by helping her husband flee potential prosecution. She must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Zuniga is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until she can be transported to a federal prison.

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