Two Mexican nationals have been sentenced for their roles in an April 2013 rollover crash that killed five people and injured 16 in southern Arizona.
The driver of the vehicle, Armando Ivan Palomares-Castro, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.
Francisco Javier Labrador-Valderrama, a passenger in the vehicle, was sentenced on Oct. 15 to nine years, followed by three years of supervised release.
Both men pleaded guilty in June to transportation of undocumented immigrants for profit resulting in death.
The crash occurred on April 20 after Palomares-Castro failed to yield to U.S. Border Patrol units on Highway 10, southeast of Tucson, prosecutors said.
Palomares-Castro was also identified by some of the passengers as one of the foot guides that brought the group of undocumented immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Labrador-Valderrama initially told agents he was attempting to come into the country and denied being a guide. Subsequent interviews and evidence identified Labrador-Valderrama as another foot guide, prosecutors said. One of the victims was identified as a third foot guide.
Two groups of 20 people, led by the two men, crossed from Mexico into the U.S. Labrador-Valderrama's group started two hours before the group led by Palomares-Castro, prosecutors said.
The groups merged and trekked the Chiricahua Mountains over a period of six days before a Border Patrol helicopter located the group, causing everyone to scatter.
Those who reunited with the two men continued to walk until they reached the vehicle. The two men sat in the front seat of the vehicle, nine people sat in the middle row and nine others huddled in the rear cargo area, according to prosecutors.
When U.S. Border Patrol approached from behind the Tahoe, it accelerated to more than 90 mph, throwing backpacks out of the vehicle toward the Border Patrol cars.
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Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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