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2 Die Crossing I-5 in Human Smuggling Attempt

A Tijuana man will spend more than eight years in prison for guiding a group of undocumented immigrants across a busy highway where two were struck and killed by oncoming traffic. 

Jorge Luis Martinez-Hernandez, 33, was sentenced Tuesday for human smuggling resulting in death and human smuggling for financial gain and aiding and abetting. Martinez-Hernandez had pleaded guilty to the felony charges in April. 

“To tell people to cross a freeway in complete darkness with cars driving at 65-plus miles per hour is unconscionable,” San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said in a written release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Martinez-Hernandez brought five adults and three minors through a hole in a wall near the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego, California on September 17, 2017.

The group loaded into a waiting vehicle and Martinez-Hernandez drove into oncoming traffic on Interstate 5.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched a pursuit of the vehicle.

After Martinez-Hernandez stopped the vehicle on the side of the road, he led the group on foot across the northbound lanes of i-5, over a dividing fence and into the southbound lanes near Camino De La Plaza exit.

Two of the undocumented immigrants were struck and killed by an oncoming car. 

Seven people, including Martinez-Hernandez, were taken into custody. 

The freeway was closed for a period of time overnight as officials investigated. 

The undocumented immigrants had agreed to pay between $7,000 to $13,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. according to federal prosecutors. Martinez-Hernandez was going to receive $1,000 per person. 

Source: NBC San Diego

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