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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 7, 2019

Federal Charges Filed in Wake of Fatal Robstown Crash

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 23-year-old Mexican National has been charged with unlawful transportation of aliens resulting in death following the fatal alien smuggling attempt in which six people were left for dead, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Authorities arrested Ivan Dario Puga-Moreno, of Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, on June 6, 2019, in Houston. He is expected to make an initial appearance June 10 at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Palermo in Houston.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Corpus Christi, authorities discovered a wrecked Chevrolet Suburban in a ditch in Robstown on June 5. Six people were found deceased at the scene with nine more requiring hospitalization due to their significant injuries, according to the charges.  

The complaint alleges the subsequent investigation revealed Puga-Moreno was the driver of the wrecked vehicle and was attempting to smuggle approximately 18 illegal aliens from South Texas to Houston. Puga-Moreno allegedly fled the scene following the accident.

Puga-Moreno was smuggling the illegal aliens with the assistance of a brush guide from his hometown in Mexico, according to the charges.  

If convicted, Puga-Moreno could potentially face the death penalty.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation along with the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, police departments in Robstown and Corpus Christi, Nueces County Sherriff’s Office and Robstown Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Cody Barnes and Jeremy Fugate are prosecuting the case.   

A criminal complaint is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Topic(s): 
Immigration
Human Smuggling
Component(s): 
Updated June 7, 2019