4 alleged smugglers arraigned in federal court

August 28, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Four alleged immigrant smugglers arrested with a group of 23 immigrants who tried to enter the country through the New River were arraigned Monday in federal court in El Centro.

The four alleged smugglers are Samuel Flores-Zazueta, 49, a U.S. citizen, his wife, Leticia Flores De Zazueta, 42, son, Julio A. Zazueta-Flores, 18, and Roberto Aguilar-Carranza, 26.

Leticia and Julio Zazueta are legal permanent residents of the United States and Aguilar is a resident of Mexico.

Aguilar reportedly acted as a guide in leading a group of immigrants through the New River and across the border to a point in Calexico where Samuel Zazueta and his wife and son was waiting.

According to federal records, the 23 immigrants, 22 from Mexico and one from El Salvador, were directed to get out of the water and then were ushered into two vehicles, a blue van and white sedan.


Some immigrants in the group identified Aguilar as the one who gave directions.

Border Patrol agents observed the immigrants leaving the New River bottom and enter the two vehicles.

Agents followed the two vehicles to a local restaurant parking lot, where they questioned the occupants of the vehicles.

The agents then took into custody the 23 undocumented immigrants and arrested the four alleged smugglers.

Those four were to remain in custody in Imperial County until federal authorities in San Diego decide whether to issue an indictment against them.

Information on their bail was unavailable this morning.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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