Man gets 14 years in immigrant smuggling case

AP News
Posted: Nov 09, 2009 9:19 PM

A Texas man has been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for his role in what became the deadliest human smuggling attempt in U.S. history.

Prosecutors say 40-year-old Abelardo Flores was part of a smuggling ring that packed more than 70 illegal immigrants into the back of a stifling tractor-trailer in May 2003 and tried to take them from southern Texas to Houston. Flores had pleaded guilty to a smuggling conspiracy charge.

As part of the sentence handed down Monday, he was also fined $3,000.

The immigrants, from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, were found after the driver abandoned the trailer at a truck stop. Nineteen people died of dehydration, overheating and suffocation.