Office of the United States Attorney, John S. Leonardo
District of Arizona
July 16, 2012
SMUGGLING GUIDE PLEADS GUILTY TO TRANSPORTATION RESULTING IN DEATH OF ILLEGAL ALIEN
Tucson, Ariz. - On July 13, 2012, Hiliberto Jimenez-Palacios, 51, of Mexico, pleaded guilty to transportation of an illegal alien, which resulted in the death of the alien. Jimenez-Palacios was indicted by a federal grand jury in Tucson on July 27, 2011.
According to the plea agreement, on June 29, 2011, Jimenez-Palacios led a group of five illegal aliens through the desert and across the U.S. border, intending to be paid for helping guide the group into the U.S. The group lacked adequate supplies, such as food and water, to complete the multi-day hike. With temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, the victim showed signs of dehydration on the first day of the hike. She died on the second day of the hike. After running out of water, Jimenez-Palacios eventually instructed the remainder of the group to give themselves up to law enforcement on the side of a road. Several members of the group required medical attention due to dehydration. When Jimenez-Palacios was later apprehended on the same road, he falsely told law enforcement agents that he was looking for water and was left behind by his guide.
A conviction for transporting illegal aliens resulting in death carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, U. S. District Judge Jennifer G. Zipps will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
Sentencing is set before Judge Zipps on September 21, 2012.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol. The prosecution is being handled by Kyle Healey, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.
CASE NUMBER: CR-11-2622-TUC-JGZ
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-175(Jimenez-Palacios)
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/