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Smuggler Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Release Date: 
August 22, 2012

Tucson, Ariz. - Joaquin Villaseñor-Chavez, a 27-year-old man from Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, was convicted in U.S. District Court Monday on one count of transporting an illegal alien for profit which resulted in death and 10 counts of conspiracy to bring in and transport an illegal alien for profit.

On June 16, 2011, Willcox Border Patrol agents encountered a group of 11 subjects and one deceased person near Saint David, Ariz. During processing, Villaseñor-Chavez was identified as a foot guide, or "coyote," who led the group from Mexico into the United States. The Tucson Sector Prosecution Unit developed the case and submitted to the U.S. Attorney's office for prosecution.

On August 20, 2012, Villaseñor-Chavez was sentenced to 120 months in prison for each count, to run concurrent, and an additional eight years of supervised release.

Smugglers are ruthless criminals whose primary motivation is greed. They lie to desperate individuals by telling them they will walk a short distance. In reality, they are forced to walk great distances within short periods of time and those unable to keep up are left behind to die.

By ensuring smugglers face stiff federal penalties for their actions, the Border Patrol has made significant progress toward combating criminal organizations. In Arizona, the probability of being detected and facing consequences is higher than ever before.

CBP welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling (877) 872-7435 toll free.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021