Smugglers receive prison terms for woman's death

June 13, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Two smugglers who admitted responsibility for the death of a mother of five who was crossing the border illegally have been sentenced to more than three years in prison each.

Jorge Zamudio Velasquez, 29, and Sergio Juarez Torres, 32, were sentenced by a federal district court last month. The sentences were 46 months for Velasquez and 40 months for Torres.

Velasquez and Torres had pleaded guilty in January to immigrant smuggling resulting in the death of Maria Isabel Pacheco Madera.

Velasquez and Torres were, according to reports, smuggling Madera, her five children and others across the border west of Ocotillo in August of last year.


When Madera was unable to keep up with the group, the smugglers reportedly left her behind.

It wasn't until noon the next day that the county Sheriff's Office alerted the U.S. Border patrol about a group of illegal border crossers that was in distress.

Agents found a group of six immigrants, and later, with the help of a helicopter and information provided by the immigrants, found the woman left behind, who had died from heat exposure.

>> Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon contributed to this story.

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