A U.S. resident has been charged in connection to the smuggling operation that led to 13 deaths after a semitruck slammed into an SUV full of 25 folks — lots of them Mexican and Guatemalan nationals — earlier this month.
Jose Cruz Noguez, of Mexicali, Mexico, was arrested Monday night time as he crossed into the U.S. from Mexico, in line with an FBI announcement. Cruz, 47, is a authorized everlasting resident in the US who has hung out in San Jose, California, officers stated.
25 different folks have been injured within the crash, with a number of needing to be airlifted to hospitals. The SUV, pushed by a 28-year-old resident of Mexico, entered the intersection instantly earlier than an enormous rig smashed into the facet of the SUV. The driving force and 12 different passengers packed into the SUV died.
Cruz has been charged with conspiracy to carry migrants to the U.S. inflicting severe bodily damage and bringing them in with out presentation for monetary achieve, in line with officers.
“Cramming dozens of individuals into eight-passenger automobiles and driving recklessly to keep away from detection reveals an utter disregard for human life,” stated Performing U.S. Legal professional Randy Grossman in a press release. “We are going to discover and prosecute smugglers who use these strategies and trigger such tragic and avoidable deaths.”
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The crash shined a highlight on immigration and border considerations. The lethal collision occurred Mach 2 in Southern California simply 10 miles north of the border, the place two automobiles entered the U.S. via a 10-foot gap within the fence, Customs and Border Safety stated.
One other smuggler, who claimed to be an affiliate of Cruz, stated he had been recruited to be the motive force, although he had declined. The smuggler then talked in a “secretly recorded” name with Cruz, the place he confirmed his involvement, stated the grievance.
Cruz additionally stated within the name that “his different associates lower the border fence; that the automobiles have been totally loaded; and that he collected cash for the occasion,” in line with the grievance.
“13 people misplaced their lives on March 2nd resulting from unscrupulous human smugglers,” stated El Centro Sector Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Ok. Bovino. “The U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace, Homeland Safety Investigations and the U.S. Border Patrol will cease at nothing to seek out, arrest, and prosecute smuggling organizations and this case is proof of that.”
Contributing: Grace Hauck, Colin Atagi, and Christal Hayes