SAN DIEGO — A man was sentenced in federal court Monday for two separate human smuggling incidents, said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman’s office.
Jose Manuel Gonzalez, a 31-year-old from Spring Valley, was handed an over four-years long sentence for crimes committed in 2019 and 2021.
According to his plea agreement, Gonzalez was caught by Border Patrol agents on July 5, 2019, while attempting to transport eight people in a minivan. The group had crossed the border illegally from Mexico, said the attorneys office.
Following that incident, officials say Gonzalez was charged with Transportation of Illegal Aliens, granted bail on that offense and remained out of custody.
According to the attorney’s office, the prosecution team reviewed Gonzalez’s phone records around the day of the original offense and found that he was in communication with co-conspirators in Mexico, including a “foot guide” who was guiding illegal immigrants over the Mexican border into the U.S.
This discovery led authorities to add additional charges, alleging that Gonzalez conspired with others to bring illegal immigrants into the U.S. for financial gain. He bailed out of custody, once again.
Gonzalez was caught again on June 18, 2021, for transporting 12 illegal immigrants in the back of a pickup truck, according to his plea agreement. When Border Patrol agents attempted to stop him, officials say Gonzalez disregarded lights and sirens, instead, leading authorities on a high speed chase which eventually ended in his arrest.
As a result of this incident, Gonzalez was charged with additional counts alleging the transportation of illegal immigrants, plus a count alleging that he committed additional crimes while on court-ordered pretrial release.
A court ruling by U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel sentenced Gonzalez to 36 months on the human smuggling offenses, plus an additional 15 months for committing the June 2021 offense. His total sentencing stands at 51 months in prison.
Enhanced penalties were included for the substantial risk that Gonzalez’s high-speed chase caused, the illegal transportation of a minor and an aggravated role in human smuggling activities, the attorneys office explained.
“This prosecution is a result of the continued dedication by our agents, and our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s office,” said San Diego Border Patrol Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke. “We will continue to deliver consequences to the transnational criminal organization operating throughout border region.”