BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WRBL) – An undocumented immigrant charged with conspiring a whistleblower’s murder who exposed his multimillion-dollar scheme to employ undocumented workers fraudulently; entered a guilty plea halting his trial.
Higinio Perez-Bravo, 52, of Savannah, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, ending his trial as it entered the third day, according to U.S. Attorney David H. Estes.
Perez-Bravo’s guilty plea subjects him to a mandatory penalty of life in prison.
“Higinio Perez-Bravo took part in a plan that forever silenced a courageous whistleblower,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Perez-Bravo acted as the getaway driver to help a murderer elude justice, but he could not escape the overwhelming evidence of his own guilt. I applaud law enforcement’s efforts and the assistance of Eliud Montoya’s family in holding this defendant accountable.”
Perez-Bravo’s guilty plea followed after Pablo Rangel-Rubio, 53, from Mexico, who illegally resided in Rincon, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal, harbor, and shield illegal aliens, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aiding and abetting the retaliation against a witness in March.
Rangel-Rubio awaits a negotiated 600-month prison sentence, while his brother Juan Rangel-Rubio, 45, of Rincon, Georgia, who is also from Mexico and illegally present in the U.S., awaits trial for related charges.
Based on court documents and evidence presented to the jury, Perez-Bravo received $20,000 for using his vehicles and acting as a getaway driver in the murder of Eliud Montoya, a U.S. citizen who exposed the orchestrated plan to hire and mistreat undocumented immigrants.
At the time of the incident, Pablo Rangel-Rubio worked as a supervisor for Wolf Tree. He wired the undocumented immigrants’ paychecks to himself and later confessed that he and the other co-conspirators collected over $3.5 million.
Montoya, who also worked for Wolf Tree, observed his colleagues being mistreated by Pablo Range-Rubio. Montoya alerted the company and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
After Montoya exposed the scheme, Pablo Rangel-Rubio orchestrated Montoya’s murder by paying Perez-Bravo and other actions.
Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI, the U.S. Marshalls Service, the GBI, the Garden City Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.
Southern District of Georgia Assistant U.S. Attorney Tania D. Groover will prosecute the case for the United States.