Mexican man, 47, who ‘smuggled migrants to US’ is arrested after SUV crash killing 13 people

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Jose Cruz Noguez, 47, from Mexicali, Mexico, was arrested entering the United States at the Calexico Port of Entry and received two different smuggling-related charges in federal court on Tuesday.

Jose Cruz Noguez, 47, of Mexicali, Mexico, was arrested entering the United States at the Calexico Port of Entry and received two different smuggling-related charges in federal court on Tuesday.

The smuggler behind the migrant SUV that crashed in California, killing 13 people, has been arrested at the US border.

Jose Cruz Noguez of Mexicali, Mexico, was arrested as he entered the United States at the port of Calexico and received two different smuggling-related charges in federal court on Tuesday.

Cruz Noguez, 47, reportedly coordinated the March 2 operation that led to an accident near Holtville that killed 13 Mexican and Guatemalan citizens, federal prosecutors said in a statement. press release

The Ford expedition transporting the victims had hit a tractor trailer at the intersection of Norrish Road and State Route 115.

Cruz Noguez, a legal resident of the United States, was identified as the mastermind of the operation when another suspected smuggler, claiming to be his associate, defrauded him, prosecutors said.

The unnamed colleague was arrested on March 15 at the Campo Border Patrol Station for an unrelated smuggling incident.

“The employee pointed the finger at Cruz, telling authorities that he had worked for Cruz in the past and was recruited by Cruz to be the driver of the fateful vehicle from that tragic day,” prosecutors said in the release.

Cruz Noguez reportedly coordinated the March 2 operation that led to an accident near Holtville that killed 13 Mexican and Guatemalan nationals

Cruz Noguez reportedly coordinated the March 2 operation that led to an accident near Holtville that killed 13 Mexican and Guatemalan nationals

Cruz Noguez reportedly coordinated the March 2 operation that led to an accident near Holtville that killed 13 Mexican and Guatemalan nationals

In addition to the wrecked SUV, another had been involved in the March 2 smuggling operation.  Pictured: Officials respond to the scene where the SUV crashed into a truck

In addition to the wrecked SUV, another had been involved in the March 2 smuggling operation.  Pictured: Officials respond to the scene where the SUV crashed into a truck

In addition to the wrecked SUV, another had been involved in the March 2 smuggling operation. Pictured: Officials respond to the scene where the SUV crashed into a truck

Cruz Noguez reportedly offered him $ 1,000 per passenger two weeks before the trip, but he declined, according to a criminal complaint.

He also allegedly told the employee that he would oversee the smuggling event and ensure that the vehicles crossing over would go to a storehouse in Holtville.

The alleged employee then took part in a secretly taped conversation with Cruz in which he allegedly confirmed his involvement in the March 2 surgery.

During the call, Cruz Noguez reportedly confirmed that other employees of his had cut the border fence and that he had raised money for the event.

“Furthermore, Cruz Noguez stated that there were 60” Pollos “- his term for customers – in the two vehicles and that the driver would make $ 28,000,” prosecutors said.

The scene of a collision between an SUV and a tractor-trailer can be seen near Holtville, California on March 2.

The scene of a collision between an SUV and a tractor-trailer can be seen near Holtville, California on March 2.

The scene of a collision between an SUV and a tractor-trailer can be seen near Holtville, California on March 2.

Cruz is said to have offered his employee $ 1,000 per passenger two weeks before the trip, but he declined

Cruz is said to have offered his employee $ 1,000 per passenger two weeks before the trip, but he declined

Cruz is said to have offered his employee $ 1,000 per passenger two weeks before the trip, but he declined

The alleged employee then took part in a secretly taped conversation with Cruz in which he allegedly confirmed his involvement in the March 2 surgery.

The alleged employee then took part in a secretly taped conversation with Cruz in which he allegedly confirmed his involvement in the March 2 surgery.

The alleged employee then took part in a secretly taped conversation with Cruz in which he allegedly confirmed his involvement in the March 2 surgery.

In addition to the wrecked SUV, another had been involved in the March 2 smuggling operation, and the two vehicles were seen on a security video that morning driving through a 10-foot (10-foot) border fence that had been removed.

Border Patrol Agents had received a report from the California Highway Patrol that more than a dozen people ran away from a burning GMC Yukon SUV at around 5:56 a.m. and ran into the desert in Holtville.

Officers blew the GMC Yukon SUV fire at around 6:10 a.m. and followed footpaths into the desert and arrested 19 people hiding in the surrounding forest, prosecutors said.

Calexico police asked Border Patrol officers to assist with the ‘mass victim’ wreckage in Holtville at 7:05 a.m. and agents who responded to the crash identified one of the affected vehicles as the Ford Expedition.

“There were a total of 25 people in the Ford Expedition at the time of the crash,” prosecutors said.

The crash site is located in southeastern California, about 10 miles east of El Centro and about 10 miles north of the Mexican border

The crash site is located in southeastern California, about 10 miles east of El Centro and about 10 miles north of the Mexican border

The crash site is located in southeastern California, about 10 miles east of El Centro and about 10 miles north of the Mexican border

Numerous people were thrown from the vehicle in a collision, with injuries ranging in severity from fractures to head trauma

Numerous people were thrown from the vehicle in a collision, with injuries ranging in severity from fractures to head trauma

Numerous people were thrown from the vehicle in a collision, with injuries ranging in severity from fractures to head trauma

Crucifixes and anti-Border Patrol flyers left by an activist can be seen near the crash site

Crucifixes and anti-Border Patrol flyers left by an activist can be seen near the crash site

Crucifixes and anti-Border Patrol flyers left by an activist can be seen near the crash site

In addition to the 13 who died, several others were injured in the accident and prosecutors claimed that all seats, except for the driver and front passenger seats in the SUV, had been removed, “ presumably to fit that large number of people. ”

“Cramming dozens of people into eight-person vehicles and driving recklessly to avoid detection shows a total disregard for human life,” acting US Attorney Randy Grossman said in the release.

“We will find and prosecute smugglers who use these methods and cause such tragic and avoidable deaths.”

A California Highway Patrol spokesman said the semi-truck’s driver sustained moderate injuries and was also hospitalized. He is expected to survive.

Cruz’s employee told authorities he grew up in Mexicali and entered the United States illegally six months ago when he started working for him.

The man also alleged that Cruz forced him to house another illegal migrant at his home in El Centro, California.

Cruz is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on charges of conspiring to bring aliens to the United States outside a port of entry, causing serious bodily harm and life in danger.

He is also accused of bringing in aliens without presentation for financial gain.

Cruz will appear in a preliminary hearing on April 13 and will be charged on April 27. The court appointed him federal defender.

Details of the cause of the crash were not immediately available, and the matter is currently under investigation.

However, for decades there have been concerns about the high death toll in accidents along the California-Mexico border, the LA Times reported.

Many of those wrecks would have involved immigrants attempting to cross the US, with a significant number of crashes occurring during chases by US law enforcement officials.

Of the more than 500 chases the US Border Patrol conducted in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona between 2015 and 2018, one in three ended in a crash.

There is no indication that the collision was a chase.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told DC Examiner journalist Anna Giaritelli that CBP personnel were not involved in the collision, she tweeted

Dr. Shavonne Borchardt, of El Centro Regional, said injuries ranged from fractures to life-threatening head and chest injuries.

“ Our staff have done a great job of getting everything ready for these patients and being able to treat them as quickly as possible and transfer them to the right places, or if we can take care of them here, they will receive good care as well, ” said Borchardt.

Senator Diane Feinstein, a Democrat, tweeted that she has remained “ heartbroken ” after hearing the news of the fatal crash.

My office is closely monitoring the situation as we learn more about this horrific crash. My thanks go to the Imperial County Fire Department and other first responders for their prompt response and the various medical centers in the area that treated injured passengers, ”she wrote.

“My thoughts are with the families of everyone involved.”

Fifteen Imperial County emergency responders, five fire engines, and a helicopter all responded to the initial call that morning.

Video posted on social media showing the aftermath of the crash shows a number of police, ambulance and fire vehicles surrounding the wreckage.

A scissor-blade truck transporting two trailers comes to a halt in the middle of the road.

It is currently unclear what speeds the two vehicles were traveling at when they collided. The maximum speed for large trucks on the 155 is 55 mph.

According to UC Berkeley’s Transportation Injury Mapping System, at least two other fatal accidents have occurred at the same site.

The crash site is located in southeastern California, about 10 miles east of El Centro and about 10 miles north of the Mexican border.