Earlier this month, 13 people were killed and many others injured in a crash involving smuggling people over the U.S.-Mexico border. Now federal investigators have filed charges against the man they believe was running the operation. CNN reports.
The arrested man, a legal resident of the U.S. living in Mexicali, Mexico, was taken into custody when he tried to cross the border at Calexico. He was identified when another suspected trafficker was arrested in a separate incident and alleged he had been working for the suspect.
44 people were crammed into a Ford Expedition and a GMC Yukon and tried to cross the border earlier this month. The cars had all the seats removed except for the front seats to maximize space. They tried to cross through a gap in the border fence, but the Expedition crashed into a semi-truck soon after. 25 people were in that vehicle. The driver was among the fatalities.
At the suspect’s first appearance in federal court Tuesday, he was charged with numerous crimes, including conspiracy to bring Mexican and Guatemalan nationals to the US outside of a port of entry, causing bodily injury or putting a life in jeopardy. He was also charged with bringing undocumented individuals into the country for financial gain.
If the man is convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.