A Mexican man has been charged with running the human-smuggling operation that ended with 13 people dead in a horrific SUV crash at the California border earlier this month.
Jose Cruz Noguez, 47, of Mexicali but also a legal US resident, was arrested Monday night as he crossed into the US at the Calexico Port of Entry, federal prosecutors said.
He had been ratted out by another smuggler who was arrested in a separate smuggling case — who then made a call to Cruz Noguez that was secretly recorded by law enforcement, the criminal complaint said.
In the call, Cruz Noguez admitted his involvement in the smuggling run that ended in the deadly crash of a Ford Expedition on March 2 near Holtville, California, the US attorney’s office said.
That SUV had its seats removed to cram in 25 people, all from Mexico and Guatemala, entering the US alongside an equally packed GMC Yukon SUV after a section of