Los Angeles, March 31 2021: 13 immigrants being illegally transported from Mexico to the US died in a horrific car crash after the SUV they were in collided with a truck in California. The man responsible for transporting them, Jose Cruz Noguez, himself a US resident, is now in custody of US authorities and has been charged with multiple crimes.
“These smuggling networks seek maximum profit by moving as many people as possible across the border with zero regard for their safety and well-being,” said Acting US Attorney Randy Grossman. He said the smugglers often crammed dozens into vehicles designed for 8 passengers.
He is accused of orchestrating the chain of events that led to the migrants’ deaths, from the cutting of the border fence and the packing of a Ford Expedition with 25 people as well as hiring drivers.
In another incident, a second car was found broken down and in flames by border patrol agents on March 2, who located another 19 individuals hiding in the brush nearby who had entered the US through the fence.
Cruz’s former associate who was offered $1000 dollars to drive the car identified him to authorities after he himself was arrested for a separate smuggling incident.
Cruz is accused of overseeing the transportation an harboring of illegal immigrants in the US, collecting smuggling payments from family members or sponsors, recruiting drivers and scouting for the presence of law enforcement. He remains in custody following his court hearing, and will face a preliminary hearing next month.
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