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Press Release

Suspected Smuggler Slams Into Semi-Truck, Two Undocumented Immigrants Killed

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

Assistant U. S. Attorney Lara A. Stingley (619) 546-8403 or Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Kimura (619) 546-9614 


EL CENTRO – A suspected alien smuggler who said she “panicked” and hit the accelerator when U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to pull her over has been arrested and charged in connection with a subsequent crash that killed two of her customers, left another brain dead, and another paralyzed.

Lydiana Castro, a United States citizen, was arrested after the crash on March 23, 2016 near Andrade, California, and charged with illegally transporting aliens. In federal court in El Centro today, she elected to forgo a detention hearing and remain in custody.

According to a federal complaint, a Border Patrol agent saw several people running to a Dodge Durango at a gas station at the intersection of Sidewinder Road and Interstate 8 in Andrade, California. The agent alerted colleagues via radio.

When another Border Patrol agent in a marked vehicle saw the Durango, he activated his lights and attempted to stop the vehicle, which was being driven by Castro. At first the Durango began to slow down and pull over, but suddenly the vehicle accelerated and reached a high rate of speed. Castro lost control of the Durango and crashed into a semi-truck that was traveling westbound on Interstate 8. The Durango became entangled in the semi-truck trailer’s frame and the truck driver pulled onto the shoulder.

Border Patrol agents found five undocumented Mexican nationals in the Durango. Two men, Gustavo Sanchez-Orta and Jose Magdiel May-Gonzalez, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Castro was taken to a hospital in Yuma, Arizona. The three men had more extensive injuries and had to be transported to a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. They were identified as Miguel Angel May-Us, Rogelio Dzul-Castro and Javier Sanchez-Gonzalez.

According to the complaint, Castro told a Homeland Security Investigations agent that she picked up the undocumented immigrants at the gas station and drove away toward Yuma. The complaint said Castro stated that she panicked when she saw Border Patrol and she “pressed on the gas” and did not know what to do. She said she remembers hitting the semi-truck but not much after that.

In court today, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Martin told U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Lewis that Dzul-Castro is brain dead and on life support; Sanchez-Gonzalez is paralyzed from the waist down; and May-Us is in and out of consciousness.

A status hearing is scheduled for this Friday, April 1 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Lewis.

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 16MJ8265                             

Lydiana Castro                                               Age: 30                                   Calexico, CA


Illegal Transportation of Aliens – Title 8, U.S.C., Section 1324(a)(l)(A)(ii)

Maximum penalty: 10 years in prison


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Border Patrol

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.



Updated March 29, 2016

Human Smuggling
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