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Mexico Orders Trial in Migrant Deaths in Texas

The World

August 20, 2003|From Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Ten alleged members of a smuggling ring blamed in the deaths of 19 migrants who were abandoned at a truck stop in Texas have been ordered to stand trial in Mexico on organized crime and immigrant trafficking charges, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

A federal judge ruled there was enough evidence to warrant trials for the nine men and one woman who prosecutors say belonged to a ring allegedly headed by Karla Patricia Chavez, a legal resident of the United States originally from Honduras who is awaiting trial in the U.S.

The 10 suspects were arrested Aug. 8 in raids in the northern and central Mexican states of Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi and Guanajuato.

They include Eliseo and Ismael Peralta, brothers from the central state of Guanajuato who are alleged to have organized a bus trip that took the migrants to the Mexican side of the border to begin their ill-fated journey.

More than 70 migrants from Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic were being transported to Houston in the unventilated trailer of an 18-wheeler on the night of May 13.

Authorities found 17 migrants dead in the trailer the next day outside a Victoria, Texas, truck stop. Two others died after being hospitalized.

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