Man accused of human smuggling in Mar. 2 crash that killed 13 near U.S.-Mexico border

A man is facing federal charges in the United States after he was accused of coordinating an "organized smuggling event" that led to the horrific crash near the U.S.-Mexico border that killed 13 people earlier in the month.

Jose Cruz Noguez, who had previously spent time in San Jose, is being charged with "conspiracy to bring aliens to the U.S. outside a port of entry causing serious bodily injury/placing a life in jeopardy," as well as "bringing in aliens without presentation for financial gain," according to the U.S. Border Patrol. Cruz is a legal permanent resident in the U.S., the border patrol said.


Back in March 2, a Ford Expedition carrying 25 passengers was involved in a crash with a big rig in Imperial County. The crash killed 13 people and injured multiple others. Days after the crash, officials identified some of the people inside the Ford Expedition as residents of Mexico and Guatemala.

"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 U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman in a press release. "Cramming dozens of people into eight-passenger vehicles and driving recklessly to avoid detection shows an utter disregard for human life. We will find and prosecute smugglers who use these methods and cause such tragic and avoidable deaths."

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