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Leader Of Arizona-Based Human Smuggling Ring Is Sentenced

TUCSON, Ariz.-- A Louisiana man has been sentenced by a U.S. District Court judge in Arizona for leading a human smuggling organization based in the state. 

Otoniel Galindo Vasquez-Lopez has been sentenced to 14.5 years in custody and three years of supervised release by federal Judge Murray Snow of Arizona.

The state’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said Vasquez-Lopez managed an operation of smugglers and money launderers that arranged transportation to the U.S. and payment with hundreds of undocumented immigrants and their families, mostly from Mexico and Guatemala.

The attorney’s office said his sentence reflects the immigrants who died while being brought through Arizona. Two men were ejected from an overcrowded car in an accident and one man was found dead near Sells after being abandoned by his guides.

More than 30 other people from the smuggling ring have been arrested, convicted and sentenced in the District of Arizona.

Kate Sheehy is very happy to find herself back with Fronteras: The Changing America Desk as a Senior Field Correspondent in Tucson. Sheehy thinks being a reporter is the most amazing job because no other profession allows you to learn about a variety of subjects and provides the chance to meet people from different walks of life.