A Mexican man who had been accused
of transporting illegal immigrants after a rollover crash
killed nine people faces new charges that could bring the
A federal grand jury in Phoenix indicted Brian Guzman
Ochoa, 32, on four new counts Tuesday including
transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death. The
possible sentences on that charge are the death penalty or
life in prison.
On Aug. 7, a sport utility vehicle heading north veered
off a highway about 15 miles south of Florence, slammed into
the far bank of a dry wash and flipped onto its roof. Nine
people died at the scene.
A criminal complaint citing survivors identified Guzman as
the driver. He was among 10 people in the SUV hospitalized
for injuries. One remains hospitalized, U.S. attorney's
office spokeswoman Sandy Raynor said Wednesday.
The indictment also charges Guzman, of Hermosillo, Mexico,
with transportation of illegal aliens, bringing in illegal
aliens and re-entry after deportation.
Guzman is in federal custody, and his arraignment is
pending, Raynor said.
Guzman's attorney, Jeffrey Williams, did not immediately
return a call seeking comment.
Raynor said the indictment was based on the criminal
complaint that was filed shortly after the crash and on
statements made by material witnesses.
Two survivors identified Guzman and a man killed in the
crash as the guides who took them from Agua Prieta, Mexico,
into the United States. Both witnesses said Guzman and the
other alleged guide had been smoking marijuana before they
entered the SUV.
Guzman could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of
transportation of illegal aliens.
The maximum penalty for bringing in illegal aliens
increases with multiple charges, so Guzman could face from
three to 15 years.
And he could be sentenced to two years in prison if
convicted of the re-entry charge.
Federal prosecutors have come down hard in other cases
involving fatal crashes of smuggling vehicles. A Mexican man
who was driving during a June 2006 crash near Yuma that
killed 10 illegal immigrants is serving a life sentence.