A recruiter who hired a man to smuggle two immigrants into the United States in the trunk of his car — where they were found dead at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing at San Ysidro — pleaded guilty Thursday federal charges.
Eduard Ervemac Saavedra, 44, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced July 25 by U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia.
As part of a plea agreement, Saavedra, a citizen of Peru, admitted that he enticed Nicholas George Zakov to smuggle the two immigrants into the United States for $3,500.
After recruiting Zakov, on the morning of Aug. 12. 2014, Saavedra arranged for two Mexican citizens, Tarcisio Casas-Blanco and Jose Aurelio Quiroz-Casas, to be hidden in the trunk of Zakov’s Dodge Challenger in Tijuana.
Saavedra then directed Zakov to enter the United States through the San Ysidro Port of Entry with Casas-Blanco and Quiroz-Casas still in the trunk, exposing them to rising temperatures with little ventilation, prosecutors said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the two Mexican men unresponsive in the trunk of Zakov’s car. Medical attention was requested immediately, but the two victims died a short time later of hyperthermia and mechanical asphyxiation.
Zakov, 43, pleaded guilty earlier for his role in the deaths and was sentenced to seven years behind bars.
–City News Service
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