South Texas man sentenced to 30 years after suburban crash that killed 5 noncitizens, seriously injured others

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DEL RIO, Texas – A South Texas man was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in federal prison for conspiring to harbor and transport undocumented noncitizens following a June 2018 vehicle crash in which five people died, and eight were seriously injured.

Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Eagle Pass office conducted the investigation with the assistance of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) Del Rio Sector and the Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office.

Jorge Luis Monsivais, 23, of Eagle Pass, Texas, was sentenced Oct. 21 by a U.S. federal judge to 360 months. Monsivais pleaded guilty May 11 to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death; conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury; conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens; illegal alien transportation resulting in death; and illegal alien transportation resulting in serious bodily injury.

“The deadly outcome in this case is heartbreaking,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “Three hundred and sixty months in prison sends a clear message that those who make their living by unlawfully transporting undocumented noncitizens in the U.S. will be held accountable. Smuggling people is exceedingly dangerous for all involved and for our communities in which these operations are taking place. Our office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify and aggressively prosecute human smugglers.

According to court documents, Monsivais was the driver of a suburban traveling on FM 2644, carrying 13 undocumented noncitizens when Border Patrol attempted to stop the vehicle. Monsivais tried to evade law enforcement and eventually crashed on Highway 85 outside of Big Wells, and some of the occupants were ejected from the vehicle. Four people died at the scene and another person passed away en route to the hospital. Other occupants sustained broken necks, hips and severe head trauma.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Hail, of the Western District of Texas, prosecuted the case.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.