Skip to main content
Press Release

Young Driver and Teenage Guide Plead Guilty After Rollover Accident Resulted in the Death of a Passenger

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

TUCSON, Ariz. – Last week, Matthew Dylan Ramirez, 20, of Tempe, Arizona, and Jesus Madrid-Varela, 19, of Mexico, both pleaded guilty to Conspiracy and Transportation of Illegal Aliens for Profit Resulting in Death. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for November 1, 2022, before United States District Judge Jennifer G. Zipps.

In May 2021, Madrid-Varela smuggled three undocumented noncitizens into the United States by guiding them through the southern Arizona desert on foot, to a location near Quijotoa, Arizona.

On May 22, 2021, Ramirez picked up and transported Madrid-Varela and the three undocumented noncitizens in his vehicle with the intent to smuggle them further into the United States. While driving, Ramirez passed a Tohono O’odham Police officer who believed Ramirez was speeding. The officer attempted to stop Ramirez’s vehicle but was unsuccessful because Ramirez was driving over 100 miles per hour. Ramirez lost control of the vehicle and it rolled several times, ejecting all four passengers. One of the passengers, a 36-year-old woman from Mexico, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other passengers, including the decedent’s husband, sustained non-fatal injuries. After his arrest, Ramirez admitted that he was recruited through Snapchat by a smuggling organization that was going to pay him $1,000 for driving the undocumented noncitizens to Phoenix.

Ramirez pleaded guilty to the Indictment without a plea agreement. He faces up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Madrid-Varela pleaded guilty with a plea agreement and faces 36 to 57 months in prison.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Tohono O’odham Police Department conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Wright, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.


CASE NUMBER:           CR-21-01394-TUC-JGZ (EJM)
RELEASE NUMBER:    2022- 128_Ramirez_Madrid-Varela


# # #


For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit

Follow the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, on Twitter @USAO_AZ for the latest news.

Updated August 4, 2022

Human Smuggling
Press Release Number: 2022- 128_Ramirez_Madrid-Varela