A federal jury in McAllen has convicted a Mexican man involved in a smuggling operation during which nine immigrants died after the vehicle they were riding in fell into a South Texas canal in 2004.
U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno announced Monday that a jury
convicted 43-year-old Joel Cardenas-Meneses late Friday of
smuggling the immigrants who drowned.
Prosecutors alleged that Cardenas-Meneses was in charge of
recruiting Central American immigrants for the smuggling ring,
getting them to Reynosa, Mexico, and coordinating their trip across
the Rio Grande.
On Aug. 9, 2004, a 17-year-old was driving the immigrants away from the river without his headlights on when he drove into a canal. The nine immigrants, all citizens of Honduras and El Salvador, drowned. Sentencing for Cardenas-Meneses was scheduled for Nov. 28.