Skip to main content
Press Release

Temple Man Sentenced to Over 11 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Transport Non-Citizens Resulting in Death

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

DEL RIO – A Temple, TX man was sentenced yesterday to 136 months in prison for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death.

According to court documents, between July 24, 2020, and July 26, 2020, Saul Benitez-Gonzalez, 22, conspired with Raul Perez-Benitez (indicted separately) and others to smuggle non-citizens from Mexico to the United States.  Benitez helped and prepared Perez to illegally transport nine Mexican citizens into the United States. 

On July 26, 2020, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered Perez driving a GMC Sierra five miles north of Brackettville.  When the agents tried to conduct an immigration inspection, Perez failed to yield and a highspeed chase ensued.  Agents terminated pursuit after speeds of 100 miles per hour were reached.  

Later that morning agents discovered the GMC  had an accident.  The GMC appeared to have flipped and rolled after hitting a large boulder.  Of the nine Mexican citizens being transported by Perez in the GMC, two died from fatal injuries received in the accident and three others were transported to a medical facility with serious bodily injuries.  Four others sustained minor injuries and were transported to a Border Patrol station for processing.

“Smugglers and those who support them have no regard for their human cargo,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza.  “We will continue to work hard with our fellow law enforcement partners to bring these smuggling networks down.”

“This sentencing serves as reminder that HSI will utilize every tool to investigate and dismantle human smuggling networks,” said Special Agent in Charge, Craig Larrabee, HSI San Antonio. “Those engaged in this illicit activity place personal profit ahead of public safety. Driven by greed, these criminals have little regard for the health and well-being of the people they smuggle.”

On January 13, 2023, Perez was sentenced to 63 months with credit for time served since his incarceration on July 26, 2020. 

HSI investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Izaak Bruce and Larry Fadler prosecuted the case.

###

Updated September 27, 2023

Topic
Human Smuggling