Alleged smugglers indicted in death

September 06, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Two Mexican nationals whose alleged smuggling operation led to the death of an immigrant in the Imperial Valley were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday.

Jorge Zamudio Velasquez, 28, and Sergio Juarez Torres, 31, were charged in a 14-count indictment with bringing undocumented immigrants into the country resulting in death, bringing illegal immigrants into the country for profit and bringing illegal immigrant children across the border.

Zamudio and Juarez are accused of smuggling into the country a family of immigrants Aug. 20. The family group was made up of Maria Isabel Pacheco Madera and her five children, ages 9 to 17.

Pacheco died near Ocotillo from exposure to the heat. Her children survived.

According to the U.S. Border Patrol, the 38-year-old Pacheco and her children started their journey into this country Aug. 19.

After walking for more than a day through the Jacumba Mountains, Pacheco died.

Border Patrol officials said Zamudio and Juarez later were found by Border Patrol agents in the desert and were identified as the smugglers who had led a group of immigrants, including Pacheco and her children, into the country.


The two could face life in prison. They will be arraigned on the indictment today in the federal courthouse in El Centro.

Pacheco's children have been reunited with their father in Tijuana.

The indictment against Zamudio and Juarez comes a week after two other men were indicted on similar charges, among them leading immigrants across the border and causing a death.

The two men indicted in that case are Miguel Angel Vizcaino-Sandoval, 25, and Jose Jaime-Reynaga, 42. Information on where the men reside was unavailable.

The two reportedly brought a group of immigrants across the border on Aug. 15. One of the migrants, Rogelio Melendez-Sanchez, died from heat-related injuries.

The two had an arraignment in El Centro on Tuesday.

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

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