The federal government says it was charged with a fatal crash of an SUV packed with 25 people in California

Man Prosecution related to death According to federal prosecutors, of the 13 people packed in packed SUVs near the US-Mexico border, there is a history of human smuggling.

The deadly crash on March 2 shocked the city of Holtville, California, in Imperial County, when a 25-carried Ford Expedition collided with a gravel truck.

Twelve people were killed on the scene, another died on their way to the hospital, and several others were seriously injured, according to the Federal Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.

José Cruz Noguez of Mexicali, Mexico, was arrested on Monday and charged with a plot to illegally take people to the country, causing serious personal injury and endangering his life, the prosecution said. He was also charged with bringing them for financial gain.

Questions remain about how 25 people fit into one SUV in a “catastrophic” California crash

According to officials, 27-year-old Cruz is a legal permanent resident of the United States spent in San Jose. According to federal prosecutors, he was identified by another smuggling suspect who claimed that Cruz provided him with $ 1,000 per passenger to drive a packed SUV on March 2.

Associates say he worked for Cruz, which he has known for several years, describing him as a “coordinator” and helping to transport people who enter the United States illegally.

According to prosecutors, family members and sponsors paid Cruz for transportation, and he recruited drivers to monitor police.

Cruz paid him to drive people from El Centro, California to Los Angeles, according to people familiar with the matter.

“He said Cruz had demanded that his home in El Centro, California contain an individual who was illegally staying in the United States,” the prosecutor said.

On the day of the deadly crash, the prosecutor said Cruz adjusted two cars to enter the United States through a border fence where the 10-foot section had been removed.

According to officials, the GMC Yukon SUV and the packed Ford Expedition arrived at around 5:23 am.

At around 5:56 am, the California Highway Patrol reported more than 12 people fleeing the burning GMC Yukon, according to prosecutors.

Officials said 19 people hiding in a nearby brush were arrested. A little over an hour later, the Calexico police station reported a large number of casualties in Holtville.

Authorities have found a Ford Expedition with only the driver and passenger seats intact. All other seats on the SUV have been removed.

According to the prosecutor, Cruz told his companions in a secretly recorded conversation that the two SUV drivers would earn $ 28,000 from the 60 people driving there.

“These smuggling networks seek maximum benefit by moving as many people as possible across national borders, without considering their security and well-being at all,” said Randy Grossman, Deputy Federal Attorney General. Said in a news release. “Cramming dozens of people into an eight-seater car and driving recklessly to avoid detection shows that we are completely ignoring human life.”