Rosa Astrid Umanzor-Lopez was extradited to the United States from Guatemala in April. Her crime: Smuggling more than a dozen undocumented Indians into the US.
Umanzor-Lopez, 36, pleaded guilty in the Southern District of
Texas November 20 on one charge of conspiracy to smuggle undocumented migrants into the US and to encourage and induce undocumented migrants to enter the US for financial gain and five counts
of human smuggling charges.
Along with an Indian national Kaushik Jayantibhai Thakkar, 33,
and Brazilian native Fabiano Augusto Amorim, 28, Umanzor-Lopez
admitted she recruited individuals in India who were willing to pay
large sums of money to be smuggled into the US.
Thakkar was sentenced to three years in prison by US District
Judge Ewing Werlein Jr in 2013 and two years of supervised release.
“He (Thakkar) was released November 18, 2014,” Peter Carr, public affairs specialist at the US Justice Department, told India
According to court documents, Umanzor-Lopez, Thakkar and
Amorim had been working since 2011 until her arrest in 2014
to smuggle Indians into the US in exchange for money. Thakkar
recruited individuals in India who were willing to pay up to $60,000
to be smuggled in.
Court documents revealed that the defendants and co-defendants
transported undocumented individuals from India via South
America and Central America by various means, including air travel,
automobiles, water craft and even on foot. Many were smuggled into
southern Texas through Mexico near the cities of McAllen and
Umanzor-Lopez, Thakkar and Amorim paid an undercover law
enforcement agent in Texas in June 2011 to transport five undocumented Indians from Laredo, Texas, to Houston. Again in July
and August 2011, Thakkar paid the undercover agent for smuggling
12 Indian nationals into the US through Texas.
Umanzor-Lopez’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 4,
2016 in Houston. She could face up to 15 years in prison.
The Richmond, Virginia, chapter of the American India Foundation celebrat- ed its second annual gala at the
Science Museum of Virginia with over 250
guests, who besides their philanthropy, were
also on hand to felicitate Sam Malhotra,
Maryland’s Secretary of Human Resources,
and Pramod C Amin, chairman and chief
executive officer, Shamim Hotels.
Malhotra and Amin, at the outset of their
remarks, lauded AIF’s sustained mission to
help disadvantaged Indians through opportunity and hope since its founding in 2001 at
the initiative of President Bill Clinton following a request from then Indian Prime
Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Malhotra, 55, the first Indian American to
be appointed to a cabinet position in
Maryland, spoke about the history and success of the community in the United States.
Pointing out that the first wave of Indian
immigrants had established themselves and
prospered, he said it was imperative that
they give back. ‘It’s human nature to believe:
“When I have more I’ll give more.” If you
come from this mentality you never have
enough of anything to give.
‘Generosity is a choice that feels right and
joyful... An important lesson that I learnt
over these nine months in my new position
is that no matter how tough you think your
life is, there’s always someone who has to
face challenges that are even tougher than
As secretary of Maryland’s Department of
Human Resources, Malhotra is in charge of
a 6,500-employee agency tasked with the
oversight of the state’s welfare programs,
and has an annual budget of $2.7 billion.
The Delhi-born Malhotra was previously
chairman of the Republican Indian
Committee. He also served in former
‘Generosity is a choice that feels right and joyful’
Shalabh Rastogi has been convicted of strangling his wife at their Irvine, California, apartment.
Rastogi, 42, was found guilty
by a jury of one felony count of
first degree murder, according to
the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Rastogi, the DA’s office said,
and his 40-year-old wife Jalina
George were going through turbulent times in their marriage.
The couple had three school-going children, a son and
two daughters. They had been
married 14 years.
On the evening of May 21,
2012, the DA’s office said,
Rastogi strangled George in a
bedroom at their apartment. He
left his wife’s body in a bedroom
closet and called the police
later that night. The children were not home at the time
of the murder.
According to www.mynewsla.com, Rastogi suspected
his wife was in another relationship after he discovered a bill indicating she was on birth control medication. The defense said Rastogi had a vasectomy seven
years prior to this.
He used a locator tool on his wife’s smart phone to
track her movements and at one point downloaded a
chat session she had with her boyfriend, Senior Deputy
DA Cynthia Herrera, who was prosecuting the case, told
The couple quarreled many times and signed a docu-
ment May 17, 2012, finalizing the ‘terms of their
breakup,’ Herrera added.
May 21, according to Herrera,
Rastogi strangled his wife, say-
ing, ‘You’ve ruined my life. I’ve
done everything for you and
you cheat on me, and now
you’re going to take my kids
away from me.’
After killing his wife, he picked
up his children who were at the-
ater practice class at the time of
the slaying. He took them to
a restaurant and called the poli-
ce after returning home.
Rastogi, Herrera said, had
bought plane tickets for himself and his children to India.
His attorney Melani Bartholomew told jurors that George was
volatile and when confronted
with her infidelity would turn
the tables on her husband for
Rastogi, Bartholomew said,
was originally a Hindu from a
well-to-do family in north India while his wife was a
Roman Catholic from South India and from a less
The couple, Bartholomew added, met when George
got into trouble at university and faced expulsion.
Rastogi, the lawyer said, lobbied on her behalf and they
fell in love. He later converted to Catholicism.
Rastogi, mynewsla.com reported, was content to stay
on in India and work for his uncle, but moved to the US
at George’s behest. The couple bought a house with
a pool in Boston in 2009, but sold it at a loss because
George wanted to work in Hollywood.
Rastogi faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life
in state prison at his sentencing January 8, 2016.
to US: Guatemalan
woman pleads guilty
Desi faces 25 years to life for killing wife