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Two plead guilty in deadly human smuggling-related rollover wreck

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Posted at 10:27 AM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 20:22:16-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN)  — Two suspects pleaded guilty in federal court following a deadly rollover involving alleged human smuggling.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 20-year-old Dylan Ramirez of Tempe, Ariz. and Mexican national Jesus Madrid-Varela, 19, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and transportation of illegal aliens for profit resulting in death.

Their sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 1.

According to authorities, Ramirez picked up Madrid-Varela and three undocumented migrants in his car in May 2021. He passed a Tohono O'odham officer at 100 miles per hour, then lost control of the vehicle.

It rolled and ejected all four passengers.

A 36-year-old woman from Mexico died at the scene, which was near Quijotoa, Ariz. in Pima County.

Ramirez told authorities that he was recruited via Snapchat by a smuggling organization that paid him $1,000 to drive the migrants to Phoenix.

Ramirez faces up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Madrid-Varela faces between 36 and 57 months in prison.

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Phil Villarreal is the senior real-time editor for KGUN 9. He is also a digital producer and host of "Phil on Film" seen weekly on Good Morning Tucson, Phil moved to KGUN after 17 years with the Arizona Daily Star. He is married and has four children. Share your story ideas and important issues with Phil by emailing phil.villarreal@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.