Accused smuggler’s attorneys ask judge for more time

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Accused smuggler's attorneys ask judge for more time

Imperial County

Jose Cruz Noguez was accused of planning and coordinating the run that ended in a fatal crash in Holtville

EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) – Attorneys for the Mexicali man accused of coordinating a people smuggling run that resulted in more than a dozen deaths say they need more time.

47-year-old Jose Cruz Noguez faced a federal judge on video in El Centro federal court on Tuesday morning. Noguez has been charged multiple times with conspiracy to transport illegal migrants, causing serious bodily harm, and smuggling people for financial gain.

According to prosecutors, on March 2, Noguez planned and coordinated a smuggling run in which more than 40 undocumented migrants were brought across the border. The U.S. Border Patrol says a fully loaded SUV caught fire a short distance from a gap in the border wall.

Agents say it made it to Highway 115 in a second, where a large rig hit it outside of Holtville. 13 people, including the driver of the alleged coyote vehicle, died at the scene. First responders took a dozen survivors to hospitals in the valley, Palm Springs, and San Diego. The truck driver also survived.

The accident scene outside of Holtville on March 2nd, 2021

Prosecutors said an informant told them Noguez planned every aspect of the smuggling, including ordering a hole to be cut in the border wall. However, the suspect’s attorney says he is not yet ready to defend him against the charges. You asked for extra time.

Noguez is expected to stand before the judge again this month. KYMA.com will continue to monitor this case and notify you of developments as they occur.

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