They condemn a third ‘coyote’ for letting two immigrants die in the trunk of the car crossing the border

By: Isaias Alvarado

Translated and posted by: Maria Chavez

Three human traffickers have been sent to prison for the deaths of two Mexican immigrants who spent several minutes in the trunk of a sports car as they attempted to cross the San Ysidro checkpoint on the border between San Diego and Tijuana.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The heat was extreme that morning of August 12, 2014 when a Dodge Challenger car approached the San Ysidro checkpoint on the border between San Diego and Tijuana. The car had already spent several minutes waiting for its turn for inspection, something typical at that customs crossing.

What Customs and Border Control (CBP) agents discovered in the trunk of the vehicle was terrifying: two undocumented immigrants were fainted after being locked up under high temperatures and without ventilation in the trunk.

Although Tarcisio Casas-Blanco and José Aurelio Quiroz-Casas, both originally from Mexico, were transferred to a hospital, they lost their lives due to hyperthermia and asphyxia, according to the authorities.

This week, a federal court in San Diego, California, sentenced a third man implicated in this case, Pedro Velasco-Manzano, a 44-year-old Oaxacan , to 12 months in prison for his collaboration in the actions that led to the deaths of Of migrants.

According to court documents, Velasco-Manzano spoke directly with the victims, prepared his stay in a house in Tijuana, Mexico, and later took them to the smugglers, Nicholas George Zakov, the driver of the Dodge Challenger, and Eduard Ervemac Saavedra.

Zakov, a US citizen, pleaded guilty in 2015 for his involvement in the deaths of Mexicans and was sentenced to 84 months in prison . While Saavedra, a native of Peru, was sentenced to 63 months in prison.

The federal prosecutor’s office said that human smugglers charged $ 11,500 to each immigrant, including a $ 400 payment to Velasco-Manzano, who was the intermediary, and another $ 3,500 cash to Zakov.

The investigation and detention of Velasco-Manzano resulted from the collaboration of CBP, the Office of National Security Investigations (HSI), the San Diego Police and the State Police of Baja California, Mexico.



Featured picture belongs to: Isaias Alvarado

Other photos by: Borderclick|Univision