Arizona man gets over 36 years for human smuggling, firing at federal agents

Warren Evan Jose was given over 36 years in prison for smuggling undocumented migrants and...
Warren Evan Jose was given over 36 years in prison for smuggling undocumented migrants and firing an "AK-47 type assault rifle" at HSI agents, injuring at least one.(Mitchell Haindfield / CC BY 2.0 via MGN)
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 11:32 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Tucson resident Warren Evan Jose, 38, was sentenced to about 36 and a half years behind bars in late October after pleading guilty to crimes related to smuggling undocumented migrants and firing an assault rifle at Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents in Ahwatukee back in 2019.

Initial reports at the time show that on April 11, 2019, around 9:48 a.m. Jose and two of his smuggling partners were spotted drinking and taking drugs while driving near 48th Street and Elliot Road. Jose already had a federal arrest warrant for a prior incident, which was how HSI agents recognized him and the Chevy Trailblazer that was registered to his spouse. Agents attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver, then 29-year-old Theresa Medina-Thomas, sped away.

According to court documents, Medina-Thomas struck multiple cars while speeding away, which lead to one agent crashing into a wall. The SUV eventually spun out to stop, which was when Jose, who was the front passenger, started firing at HSI agents with an “AK47-type assault rifle.” Medina-Thomas was hit during the shootout and died on the scene.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says shots fired by Jose hit one HSI agent in the shoulder and another round grazed his head. They say other rounds that were fired barely missed hitting another HSI agent in the head.

The third person involved, then 23-year-old Valentina Valenzuela, was in the backseat of the SUV with the two undocumented migrants they were transporting. Valenzuela was sentenced to over three years behind bars in June 2021. Four agents involved in the shootout were taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.