Mexican border coyote facing life in prison for death during human trafficking police chase

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LAREDO, Texas – A federal grand jury has charged a 23-year-old non-citizen unlawfully residing in Laredo with conspiracy to transport 12 undocumented citizens resulting in death, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Jesus Martinez-Villela is expected to appear for his arraignment before a U.S. magistrate judge in Laredo in the near future.

The criminal complaint originally filed in the case alleges Martinez-Villela attempted to flee authorities by driving off-road near Encinal April 22.

Law enforcement later located Martinez-Villela’s abandoned truck with an injured person on the ground, according to the charges. They also allegedly located another man who was unresponsive in the bed of the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the allegations.  

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Multiple other undocumented citizens were allegedly transported to a local hospital to be treated for their injuries.

If convicted, Martinez-Villelafaces up to life in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. 

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance from Border Patrol and Texas Department of Public safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Yoona Lim is prosecuting the case.