Man sentenced to 15 years in fatal human smuggling case - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Man sentenced to 15 years in fatal human smuggling case

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A man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for human smuggling after two illegal immigrants, who paid him to be their guide, died in the desert in June 2011.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Marcos Soto-Mendoza, 43, of Tonalisco, Nayarit, Mexico was sentenced April 28 and will serve three years of supervised released after his prison term.

On April 12, 2013, a jury found Soto-Mendoza guilty of five counts of bringing in an illegal immigrant to make a profit.

The investigation found that Soto-Mendoza was the "guide" of five illegal immigrants trying to enter the U.S. and they allegedly paid Soto-Mendoza between $2,200 and $2,500 per person.

Soto-Mendoza, Abad Uriostegui-Uriostegui, Juan Garcia-Delgado and Marcos Mojica-Lagunas were found dehydrated and two other members of the group died from exposure to the extreme heat.

The DOJ said one of victims who died asked Soto-Mendoza to use his cell phone to call for help because the group had little to no water and was dehydrated, but Soto-Mendoza allegedly told her "no."

On June 29, 2011, border patrol agents received a call of a distressed suspected illegal immigrant in the Village of Pisinemo, on the Tohono O'odham Nation.

The investigation was done by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Sells, U.S. Border Patrol and the Tohono O'odham Police Department.

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