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Imperial County

Homeland Security begins criminal investigation into deadly Holtville crash

Feds ask for help tracking down smugglers behind the wreck

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday asked for the public's help in its search for the human smugglers behind a deadly crash in Holtville.

The March 2nd wreck left 13 people dead, most of them undocumented Mexican and Guatemalan migrants. Investigators say the smuggler driving the overloaded SUV also died in the accident.

U.S. Border Patrol says smugglers cut a 10-foot section in border fencing to allow two vehicles to drive through. One caught fire a short distance from the border. The second was involved in the crash.

Now DHS is trying to track down the human smuggling network that organized the two-car caravan.

“This tragic case is a grim reminder that putting your faith and future in the hands of smugglers is a very dangerous gamble,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Smugglers are motivated by greed and care nothing for the people they put in harm’s way. We will aggressively prosecute smugglers who recklessly cause deaths.”

DHS urges anyone with information on this case to call its new tipline at (760) 335-5343.

Federal officials said they thank the Mexican and Guatemalan consulates for their help notifying family members of those killed in the crash, as well as for assisting in identifying and contacting family members of those hospitalized.

Immigration / Top Stories
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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest.

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