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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Operator Of Human Stash House Sentenced To 97 Months

PHOENIX – On Oct. 21, 2013, Diego DeLeon Chavez, 26, of Mexico, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow to 97 months of incarceration and five years of supervised release.  Chavez pleaded guilty on July 25, 2013, to conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens, resulting in death, after two Guatemalan nationals whom Chavez’s operation was transporting were killed in a rollover crash.  
During the month of July 2012, Chavez operated a human stash house in Phoenix where he harbored illegal aliens. Chavez coordinated the receipt of smuggling fees and the transportation of illegal aliens to other parts of the United States.  The two victims died at the scene of the rollover crash from injuries they sustained when they were ejected from the vehicle. Thirteen illegal aliens inside the vehicle survived the crash, including the driver, Israel Velasquez, and his co-driver, who has not been identified.  Velasquez, fled from the scene of the crash, but was apprehended by law enforcement four days later outside another human stash house in Phoenix.  On July 25, 2013, Velasquez also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens, resulting in death, and is pending sentencing.
The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations and the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Illegal Immigration Prevention Apprehension Co-op Team and Highway Patrol.  The prosecution was handled by Kristen Brook and Lisa E. Jennis, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER:           CR-12-1503-GMS
RELEASE NUMBER:   2013-080_Chavez

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Updated January 7, 2015