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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 15, 2022

Two Charged in Human Smuggling Event that Ended with High-Speed Chase

Assistant U. S. Attorneys Daniel D. Shin (619) 546-7609

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY—September 15, 2022

SAN DIEGO—Sergio Cervantes-Lopez of San Diego and Remigio Sosa-Laez, a Mexican national, were charged yesterday in connection with a human smuggling event that ended with a high-speed chase.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court, U.S. Border Patrol Agents observed Cervantes-Lopez as he drove a large sport utility vehicle to an area near Donovan State Prison and the George Bailey Detention Center shortly after 4:00 p.m. on September 13, 2022. The agents conducting surveillance on Cerventes-Lopez’s vehicle reported that a large group of eight to ten individuals entered his car before he drove away. When other agents responded to the area and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, Cervantes-Lopez fled at speeds as high as ninety miles per hour.

According to the complaint, during the ensuing chase, Cervantes-Lopez rammed a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle and backed into a civilian’s pick-up truck before running through a red light and colliding with another civilian’s sport utility vehicle. Cervantes-Lopez’s vehicle tipped over in the collision. After the collision, Cervantes-Lopez attempted to flee the area on foot but was quickly apprehended.

Cervantes-Lopez had eight other people in his sport utility vehicle at the time of the crash. A follow up investigation revealed that one of the individuals in the vehicle, Remigio Sosa-Laez, had allegedly guided the group across the border on foot. Two of the passengers stated that they feared for their lives during the chase.   

Cervantes-Lopez and Sosa-Laez were both arrested shortly after the collision and are awaiting their initial appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge.

“You gamble with your life when you trust a smuggler,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Smugglers don’t care about the health and safety of their cargo.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the U.S. Border Patrol for their excellent work on this case.

“Smugglers threaten the health and safety of our citizens and those migrants in their care, when they engage in these dangerous-senseless tactics,” said U.S. Border Patrol San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 22mj3368-AHG                                 

Sergio Cervantes-Lopez, 30 years old

Remigio Sosa-Laez, 19 years old

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Transportation of Illegal Aliens—Title 8, U.S.C., Section 1324

Maximum penalty: Five years in prison

Bringing in Aliens Without Presentation— Title 8, U.S.C., Section 1324

Maximum penalty: Ten years in prison

AGENCY

United States 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.

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Press Release Number: 
CAS22-0915-Cervantes
Updated September 15, 2022