A federal judge has sentenced the last of more than a dozen people indicted for their roles in the deadliest human smuggling attempt in U.S. history to 14 years in prison.
Octavio Torres-Ortega admitted his guilt and apologized for the deadly smuggling attempt during a hearing in Houston federal court on Monday.
Prosecutors said he was part of a smuggling ring that packed
more than 70 illegal immigrants into the back of a stifling
tractor-trailer in May 2003 and tried to transport them from
southern Texas to Houston.
The immigrants were found after the driver abandoned the trailer
at a truck stop in Victoria, about 100 miles southwest of Houston. Seventeen people were found dead in the trailer, and two others died later all of dehydration, overheating and suffocation.