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Sioux City man intends to plead guilty in trafficking case
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Sioux City man intends to plead guilty in trafficking case

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SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City man charged with illegally harboring a Guatemalan girl and her father has filed a court document saying he intends to plead guilty.

Michael Williams, the attorney for Cristobal Francisco-Nicolas, on Wednesday filed a notice of his client's intent to plead guilty. The document did not name the charges to which charges Francisco-Nicolas will plead guilty.

Francisco-Nicolas, 38, previously pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Sioux City to two counts of encouraging an alien to come to or enter the United States and one count of unlawful possession of identification documents.

He remains scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 6. A change of plea hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Francisco-Nicolas and his wife, Amy Francisco, are charged with helping the 17-year-old girl and her father get to the U.S./Mexico border at El Paso, Texas, and travel to Sioux City, where, court documents say, Francisco-Nicolas raped the girl five times during her five-day stay. The girl escaped their home and was found wandering Sioux City streets on June 5.

Francisco, 40, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of encouraging an alien to come to or enter the United States, is scheduled to enter a guilty plea on Tuesday.

A Homeland Security Investigations special agent testified at an August hearing that authorities believed Francisco and her husband helped the girl and her father, described as a friend of Francisco-Nicolas, come to Sioux City so the girl could serve as a surrogate to be impregnated and give birth to a child for them. The agent said a surrogate contract was found on a computer authorities seized in their rented home in the 3600 block of Hamilton Boulevard. Investigators also found a forged or fake Nebraska ID card in a safe.

The girl and her father were apprehended May 29 at the border near El Paso and released on an order of recognizance and supervision the following day. Francisco paid for their flight to Omaha, where she picked them up and drove them to Sioux City, according to previous testimony.

Cristobal Francisco-Nicolas

Francisco-Nicolas

Francisco, who is a U.S. citizen, and Fransisco-Nicolas reportedly left Sioux City on June 21 -- two days after authorities executed a search warrant at their home -- and traveled to Guatemala, where Fransisco-Nicolas, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, has family. They were arrested July 10 while re-entering the country at a port of entry near San Diego.

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