News/US: Two face immigrant-smuggling charges

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Subject: News/US: Two face immigrant-smuggling charges
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Oct 11 1999 - 09:22:20 EDT


Although it's not totally clear from this article whether or not this was a
case of trafficking....the fact that they discuss "undocumented workers"
leads me to believe it's a case of trafficking.

melanie

______________________

Two face immigrant-smuggling charges
October 3, 1999

OMAHA, Neb (AP) -- Federal charges have been filed against two men
suspected of smuggling undocumented workers.

Federal prosecutors said they were responsible for packing 23 Mexican
citizens into a van bound for Chicago - a journey that ended last week when
one of the van's tires apparently blew out near Ogallala.

The accident sent the van rolling into the median of Interstate 80, and
responding emergency crews found the van's passengers strewn across the
roadway. A 15-year-old girl had her foot amputated, and several others
suffered serious injuries.

Among those recuperating at hospitals across the state is Pedro Ortiz, the
man who authorities believe was driving at the time of the accident.

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a complaint charging Ortiz with
transporting illegal aliens, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in
prison.

Ortiz is not yet able to appear in court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel
Morris said.

Another man, Carlos Solano-Zamora, faces the same charge. He was ordered
Friday to be held in jail pending the outcome of his case.

According to an affidavit filed by INS agent Stephen Letares, Solano-Zamora
said Ortiz paid him $1,000 to run immigrants from Phoenix to Chicago. The
van involved in the accident was rented in Arizona.

Passengers in the van told INS agents they paid Solano-Zamora for expenses.

Three of the van's passengers have been detained as material witnesses and
will be held by the U.S. Marshal Service in case their testimony is needed
for trial. The injured children and their family members are being allowed
to remain free on their own recognizance. Fox said it is unclear when
deportation procedures would be initiated.

Others who were in the van are likely to be taken back to Mexico next week,
he said.

Melanie Orhant
morhant@igc.org
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