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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

ICE investigation leads to arrests in rollover accident

TUCSON, Ariz. - Three Mexican men are facing federal charges for conspiring to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation into a rollover accident east of Tucson yesterday.

According to the criminal complaint, Cristobal Rivero-Huerta, 22, Martin Perez-Gomez, 22, and Evaristo Granillo-Rosales, 37, were all apprehended after they fled the scene of the accident. Rivero-Huerta was believed to be driving the 2001 Toyota SUV, which was overloaded with 15 people, when a tire blew out on Interstate 10 near Houghton Road. Of the 12 smuggled aliens involved in the accident, all adult Mexican males, eleven required medical attention and were transported by both air and ground emergency services to five Tucson hospitals. Perez-Gomez and Granillo-Rosales are both suspected of guiding the illegal aliens across the border.

"This is yet another example of the callous disregard criminal smugglers have for human life," said Rodney Irby, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Tucson. "ICE will continue to make human smuggling investigations a priority until we can stop these accidents from occurring on Arizona highways."

The three accused smugglers had their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Tucson today. A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.