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Press Release

Tucson Man Sentenced for Coordinating Alien Smuggling Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. – Adrian Duran-Estrada, 39, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced last week by United States District Judge Jennifer G. Zipps to 120 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Judge Zipps also ordered Duran-Estrada to pay a $200 special assessment and a $20,000 money judgment. Duran-Estrada pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. 

From at least May 2019 through May 2021, Duran-Estrada conspired with co-defendants to transport undocumented non-citizens in southern Arizona. As the coordinator and leader of the conspiracy, he used WhatsApp, text messages, and voice calls to coordinate the movement of undocumented non-citizens. Examples of Duran-Estrada’s actions in furtherance of the conspiracy include:

  • On May 30, 2019, Duran-Estrada coordinated the transport of 10 undocumented non-citizens, who were later apprehended by Border Patrol agents on Highway 286 near Sasabe, Arizona. Later that same day, a juvenile co-conspirator became lost and died in the desert east of Highway 286 while attempting to guide another group of undocumented non-citizens at the direction of Duran-Estrada. 
  • About one week later, on June 7, 2019, Duran-Estrada coordinated with co-defendant Bruce Rivera to pick up two undocumented non-citizens near San Miguel, Arizona, including providing Rivera with GPS coordinates to locate the two individuals. Although Rivera traveled to a location near San Miguel intending to pick up the two undocumented non-citizens, he was stopped by Border Patrol agents before he was able to pick them up.
  • On July 23, 2019, Duran-Estrada coordinated with co-defendants Kaitlan Cox and Arturo Alday Cordova to pick up a group of undocumented non-citizens near Sasabe, Arizona.

In addition, a May 4, 2021, search of his residence revealed evidence that, in November 2020, Duran-Estrada knowingly possessed a .22 caliber rifle that he used to poach a deer on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. At the time Duran-Estrada possessed the firearm, he was a convicted felon, having previously been convicted of two separate felony offenses.

Duran-Estrada’s co-defendants, Kaitlan Cox, Arturo Alday Cordova, and Bruce Rivera, were previously convicted of Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens, Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens, and Attempted Transportation of Illegal Aliens, respectively, for their involvement in the conspiracy. Cox was sentenced to 27 months in prison; Cordova was sentenced to eight months in prison; and Rivera was sentenced to a term of three years’ probation.

Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection’s United States Border Patrol conducted the investigation in this case, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

CASE NUMBER:           CR-21-0883-TUC-JGZ (BGM)
RELEASE NUMBER:    2023- 053_Duran-Estrada

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Public Affairs
Diana L. Varela
(602) 514-7743

Updated April 14, 2023

Human Smuggling
Press Release Number: 2023-053_Duran-Estrada