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Press Release

Texas Man Pleads Guilty in Case Involving Plane Crash that Injured Undocumented Noncitizens

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

ALPINE, Texas – A Seminole, Texas man pleaded guilty Thursday to transporting undocumented noncitizens causing serious bodily injury.

According to court documents, Tobias Penner Peters, 46, piloted an aircraft carrying five undocumented noncitizens on Dec. 30, 2021 and crashed shortly after taking off from the Presidio Airport.  U.S. Border Patrol agents responded to the crash, finding the five injured undocumented individuals.  Peters had already fled the crash site on his way to Mexico.  He turned himself in at the Presidio Port of Entry three months later.  One of the undocumented individuals injured in the crash suffered a back injury, was life-flighted to an El Paso hospital and remains in a wheelchair today.

Peters pleaded guilty to one count of transportation of illegal aliens causing serious bodily injury. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 25, 2023 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Francisco B. Burrola of the Homeland Security Investigations El Paso Division made the announcement.

HSI, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Presidio County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Greenbaum is prosecuting the case.


Updated February 7, 2023

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