Iowa City construction company owner receives federal sentence - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City construction company owner receives federal sentence

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

The owner of an Iowa City construction company will spend 18 months in federal prison for harboring illegal aliens.

Samira Zuniga, 34, owner of Xtreme Construction Company with her husband, who is an illegal alien, was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty in August 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.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa says nine illegal aliens were doing a roofing job in Hiawatha on April 26, 2011 when they were arrested.  They say Zuniga had provided the workers to another construction company and agreed not to compete with the other company in Eastern Iowa.

According to court documents, Zuniga, her two kids and her husband, a Mexican citizen, fled to Mexico within three days of the workers being arrested.  They say the couple took $17,000 dollars from multiple bank accounts before leaving the country.  Zuniga's husband and kids have not returned to the U.S.

On June 20, Zuniga was spotted in Iowa City after crossing the U.S./Mexico border on June 18 with two elderly couples.  She was loading belongings into a cargo van and trailer.  She told people she was moving to Mexico with her family.

She was arrested on June 21.

Zuniga was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release.

Judge Linda Reade increased Zuniga's sentence after finding that she tried to obstruct justice by misrepresenting facts and helping her husband flee prosecution.

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

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