Two people from Sells sentenced for human smuggling operation

Two people from Sells sentenced for human smuggling operation
U.S. Department of Justice official seal (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A federal judge sentenced two people involved in a human smuggling case near Sells to more than five years in prison Monday.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez sentenced 23-year-old Johnson Ortiz and 29-year-old Regina Ramon, both of Sells, to 80 months and 60 months in prison for their involvement in a human smuggling case that happened last year. Both Ortiz and Ramon pleaded guilty to harboring a migrant for profit on Sept. 4, 2019. Ortiz also pleaded guilty to statutory endangerment enhancement, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On March 18, 2019, Ortiz and Ramon stopped on the side of the road and picked up a man who was in the U.S. illegally, according to the release. The two asked the man what he was doing on the side of the road and he told them he needed to go the hospital.

Ortiz and Ramon told the man they would take him to the hospital but, instead, they took him to their home where they interrogated him, according to the release. Using a translator application on their phone, Ortiz and Ramon asked the man who in the U.S. could pay for his further transportation into the country. The two robbed man at knife point, taking his wallet, cell phone and identification.

Two days later, the man escaped from a window, shortly after a patrolling Tohono O’odham police officer found the man, took him to the hospital and called Homeland Security Investigations, the release stated. Special agents executed a search warrant on the home where the man was kept, there they found six other people in the county illegally along with the victim’s belongings.

All of the people in the home told investigators they made arrangements to be smuggled further into the U.S.

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