BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 30-year-old Mexican citizen has pleaded guilty to attempted alien smuggling resulting in death, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Miguel Angel Ceballos-Acuna pleaded guilty today to attempted alien smuggling resulting the death of one minor child.
On March 22, 2022, law enforcement responded to reports of suspecting alien smuggling near the border fence on the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) campus. Two individuals had crossed the border fence and got into a white SUV. Authorities then engaged in a high speed pursuit of the vehicle, which ran multiple red lights, but eventually disengaged pursuit due to safety concerns.
However, the vehicle continued traveling at a high rate of speed and crashed into a utility pole in a residential neighborhood. When law enforcement arrived on scene, they discovered the body of a 14-year-old Mexican citizen.
As part of his plea, Ceballos-Acuna admitted he and another individual had driven the white SUV that day to pick up an alien who had illegally entered the United States. When they arrived at the UTRGV campus, two aliens entered the vehicle, including the minor victim. Ceballos-Acuna admitted he knew the minor victim was unlawfully present in the United States. Nevertheless, he attempted to transport the victim which resulted in his death.
U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera accepted the plea and will impose sentencing May 31. At that time, Ceballos-Acuna faces up to life in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Ceballos-Acuna has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol, Brownsville Police Department and Cameron County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edgardo J. Rodriguez and Megan Eyes prosecuted the case.