DENVER (Lawfuel) – Jose Francisco Franco-Rodriguez, age 28, of Mexico, was sentenced today to serve 63 months (over 5 years) in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger for transporting illegal aliens in the United States resulting in death, United States Attorney Troy Eid and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent in Charge of the Denver office Jeffrey Copp announced today. Franco-Rodriguez was remanded into custody by Judge Krieger to begin serving his sentence immediately.
Franco-Rodriguez was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 8, 2007. He pled guilty before Judge Krieger on February 4, 2008.
According to the stipulated facts in the plea agreement, on November 27, 2006, Franco-Rodriguez was driving a van eastbound on I-70 packed with 14 other people in the United States illegally, when he lost control and crashed. The crash resulted in the death of three men and a pregnant woman. Other injured passengers were transported to area hospitals. Franco-Rodriguez fled the scene on foot immediately after the crash. He was apprehended by agents and officers several hours later.
“Nothing can undo this terrible tragedy,” said U.S. Attorney Troy Eid. “But this sentence sends a message that human smugglers should stay away from Colorado or face very serious consequences.”
“The numerous deaths caused by alien smugglers should deter anyone who considers crossing illegally into the United States,” said Jeffrey Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. “Alien smugglers have no regard for human life or for their passengers that they are notorious for abusing and mistreating. These sentences send a clear message to other would-be smugglers that we will work cooperatively to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.” Copp oversees a four-state area which includes: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Colorado State Patrol, and the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office. The Eagle County District Attorney’s Office played an integral role in this investigation, and assisted with the federal prosecution.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph Mackey and Roxane Perruso.