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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
06/07/2019

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Mexican national charged for fatal alien smuggling attempt that killed 6, injured 9 in Southeast Texas

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Mexican National was charged Monday with unlawfully transporting aliens which resulted in death following the fatal alien smuggling attempt that left six people dead and nine others injured in Southeast Texas.

This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Houston, Texas, with assistance from the following agencies: FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, Robstown Police Department, Corpus Christi Police Department, Nueces County Sherriff's Office and Robstown Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department.

Authorities arrested Ivan Dario Puga-Moreno, 23, of Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, on June 6, 2019, in Houston, Texas. He made his initial appearance June 10 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Palermo in Houston.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Corpus Christi, Texas, authorities discovered a wrecked Chevrolet Suburban in a ditch in Robstown on June 5. Six people were found deceased at the scene with nine more requiring hospitalization due to their significant injuries.

The complaint alleges the subsequent investigation revealed Puga-Moreno was the driver of the wrecked vehicle and was attempting to smuggle about 18 illegal aliens from South Texas to Houston. Puga-Moreno allegedly fled the scene following the crash.

According to the criminal charges, Puga-Moreno was smuggling the illegal aliens with the assistance of a brush guide from his hometown in Mexico.

If convicted, Puga-Moreno could potentially face the death penalty.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Cody Barnes and Jeremy Fugate are prosecuting this case.

A criminal complaint is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/11/2019