Driver of Rollover Crash That Killed 10 Pleads Guilty

PHOENIX (LAWFUEL) – Brian Guzman-Ochoa, 39, of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to one count of transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death. The charge is related to a vehicle rollover crash that occurred on August 7, 2008, near Florence, Ariz., resulting in the death of 10 passengers. Guzman-Ochoa admitted that he was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the collision.

On the morning of August 7, 2008, officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety responded to a single vehicle collision on Highway 79 near Florence, Ariz. The collision involved 19 people, all illegal aliens. Seven men and two women were killed at the scene of the accident. The remaining 10 that were injured, including Guzman-Ochoa, were transported to local hospitals. Another passenger later died from his injuries.

Sentencing is set before U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake on July 13, 2009, at 11:30 a.m. A conviction for transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, or the death penalty, a $250,000 fine or both. Per the plea agreement, the U.S. is not seeking the death penalty in this case. In determining an actual sentence, the assigned judge will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide the appropriate sentencing range. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Arizona Department of Public Safety with assistance from U.S. Border Patrol. The prosecution is being handled by Lisa Jennis Settel and Brian E. Kasprzyk, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2009-134(Guzman-Ochoa)

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