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Latino Daily News

Tuesday April 17, 2012

15-Year Old Charged with Murder and Human Smuggling that Left 9 Undocumented Migrants Dead in Crash

15-Year Old Charged with Murder and Human Smuggling that Left 9 Undocumented Migrants Dead in Crash

Photo: Texas Teen charged in Death of 9 Migrants

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Texas authorities filed murder charges Monday against a 15-year-old boy who was at the wheel of a minivan that flipped over and crashed, killing nine undocumented immigrants.

Palmview Police Chief Chris Barrera said that the teen is a U.S. citizen but did not identify him.

The defendant, who appeared Monday morning at a preliminary hearing, was accused on another 17 counts for people trafficking and serious injuries.

The nine fatalities in the accident that occurred Tuesday of last week were all Mexican citizens.

Last Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection filed federal charges against five men and a woman for their role in tranporting the nine passengers.

The six suspects were identified as Carmelo Diaz Gopar, 24, Gloria Solis, 25, Alexander Barrios Grajales, 26, Alejandro Garcia Nava, 18, Jose Vega Zapata, 35, and Luis Julian Vargas, 19.

Solis and Vargas were identified as U.S. citizens and the other four as Mexicans.

The documents presented in court show that Border Patrol agents stopped a minivan on the night of April 10 on U.S. Highway 83 in Palmview.

When the vehicle came to a halt, Diaz Gopar got out and tried to run away but the agents nabbed him. Meanwhile the teenager driving the minivan sped away and crashed a little farther down the road.