A driver who took part in a failed human smuggling attempt that left seven people dead last year was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The sentence against Ivan Dario Puga-Moreno, a 31-year-old illegal alien from Mexico, was handed down on Thursday. Puga-Moreno pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to transport unlawfully present aliens into the United States causing death or serious bodily injury, according to CBP.
In Jun. 2019, a Chevrolet Suburban was found wrecked in a ditch in Robstown, Texas. Authorities found a human smuggler and five deceased illegal aliens inside the vehicle. An additional 10 illegal aliens inside the vehicle required hospitalization. A sixth illegal alien later died at the hospital. Puga-Moreno was attempting to smuggle 18 illegal aliens alongside the brush guide killed in the accident. Following the wreck, CBP says Puga-Moreno fled the scene with the assistance of other individuals and failed to report the deadly crash to emergency services. He fled to Houston where he was ultimately taken into custody the following day.
In his guilty plea, Puga-Moreno admitted to driving the vehicle and evading police officers. Other individuals who assisted Puga-Moreno evade arrest, Gutierrez-Gonzalez, 33, Elena Ruiz, 35, of Corpus Christi, and Mayra Chaver, 32, of Honduras, admitted their involvement and will be sentenced at a later date.
After serving his prison sentence, Puga-Moreno is expected to face removal proceedings.
Late last month, another deadly vehicle crash that took place in El Paso, Texas, also claimed the lives of 7 illegal aliens. El Paso Border Patrol chief Gloria Chaves said the accident was also a human smuggling event.