SAN DIEGO, March 27 (UPI) — A man who smuggled immigrants from Mexico into the United States was sentenced to prison after his 24th arrest, authorities said.

Efrain Delgado-Rosales, 35, who was first arrested by U.S. Border Patrol in July 1999, was sentenced last week to five years in prison for smuggling four non-U.S. citizens into the country.

His 24th and most recent arrest was in November, when he and and his four companions were found trekking through rugged terrain near San Diego. In all but one of his arrests, Delgado-Rosales, a Mexican national, was arrested with other undocumented immigrants, including one arrest in 2003 where he was found in a house in Los Angeles with 61 others.

In all the arrests before November, he was processed without being charged and deported back to Mexico, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandra Foster.

When Delgado-Rosales was picked up in November, the four men he was escorting, told authorities he’d left them along the border for several hours, where they were robbed, and had to be begged to retrieve three of the men after he’d left in the wilderness for not keeping pace.

“Smuggling activities are run by criminal organizations that have little concern over the welfare of their charges,” Laura Duffy, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, said in a statement. “Our office will aggressively prosecute those who smuggle illegal aliens into the United States for financial gain, place those in their company in grave danger and needlessly cause deaths.”

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