CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER NEWS: MAN SENTENCED IN SAN DIEGO ALIEN SMUGGLING CASE
SAN DIEGO - An immigrant smuggler was sentenced today to nearly five years in federal prison for leading a group of illegal aliens across the border and loading them into a van that overturned, killing two women.
Carlos Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 46, pleaded guilty last Oct. 3 to five counts, including alien smuggling for financial gain and alien smuggling resulting in death.
Defense attorney David Zugman unsuccessfully sought a 36-month prison term, arguing that Rodriguez-Gonzales wasn't the one who flipped the van that killed the victims.
Rodriguez-Gonzalez should have gotten a much lighter sentence than the driver of the van, Marcos Olguin, who received a six-year prison term, Zugman argued.
But U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes said the defendant's 42 prior apprehensions by immigration officials, including the use of at least three dozen AKAs and 28 dates of birth, was a significant factor in handing down the 57-month sentence.
The judge reminded Zugman that two women, including one who was pregnant, died in the March 8, 2006, crash near Honey Springs Road and state Route 94, between Dulzura and Jamul.
"Your client bears some responsibility for that," the judge told the defense attorney. Authorities said Olguin had 20 passengers in the van when it crashed in light rain.
He told authorities that he was to be paid between $3,000 and $4,000 to drive the van from the mountains east of San Diego to Oceanside.
San Diego alien smuggling, alien smuggling in San Diego, California alien smuggling, alien smuggling in san diego, san diego criminal defense, california criminal defense