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Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

Smugglers lead to death of 19 illegal aliens

The ultra-leftist AP Wire reports on the shocking story of how three illegal alien smugglers ended up causing 19 people to die from heat in Texas:
HOUSTON - A jury Wednesday convicted three people in the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt, in which 19 people died after being left inside an airtight truck trailer.

The defendants, all U.S. citizens, were convicted of conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal immigrants, as well as other counts, and all face life in prison.

They were accused of hiding and transporting some of the immigrants before the group was packed into the trailer in South Texas. The jury had to decide whether each defendant was responsible for the smuggling of each immigrant involved.

Victor Sanchez Rodriguez, 58, was found guilty of eight counts of harboring and nine counts of transporting illegal immigrants. His wife, Emma Sapata Rodriguez, 59, was found guilty of eight counts of harboring and six counts of transporting; and her half-sister, Rosa Sarrata Gonzalez, was convicted of one count of harboring. Each was acquitted of other counts.

More than 70 illegal immigrants had crowded into the back of the tractor-trailer rig to be hauled from South Texas to Houston in May 2003. As they traveled, they began to succumb to the rising heat inside the airtight trailer.

Seventeen people were dead by the time the trailer was discovered, and two others died later, all of dehydration, overheating and suffocation.

Authorities have said the temperature in the trailer reached 173 degrees. Survivors testified that the immigrants took off their sweat-drenched clothes for relief and crowded around holes they punched in the truck so they could breathe. They also kicked out a signal light to try to get the attention of passing motorists.

They were found after the driver abandoned the trailer at a truck stop in Victoria, about 100 miles southwest of Houston.

In closing arguments of the two-week trial, prosecutors had asked jurors to remember the victims.
Yes. While smuggling is illegal, leading to their deaths via heatstroke is much worse, and what the villains did there was truly repulsive. They deserve the harshest sentences possible to give them.

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