40 Year-Old Captain Sentenced To 18 Years In Prison In Maritime Human Smuggling Case

The captain of a vessel from San Diego that reportedly sank back in 2021, taking the lives of three of the 32 smuggled migrants, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Friday, the US Attorney’s Office mentioned in a release.

The 40-year-old Antonio Hurtado was charged with the attempt to bring individuals into the US illegally and also assaulting an agent of the Border Patrol during the arrest.

Janis L. Sammartino, the US District Judge, referred to the incident as the most egregious case he had encountered in the courtroom in more than 15 years of serving in the Southern District of California.

In 2021 (May), the boat hit a reef and reportedly broke apart close to the Cabrillo National Monument based in Point Loma. It had on board undocumented migrants, including three minors, who had also agreed to pay between $15,000 and $18,000 to get smuggled into the US.

Boat Captain jailed
Image for representation purpose only

About 32 people put all their savings and lives in the defendant’s hands. His egregious failure and reckless behaviour to seek assistance put all at severe risk and caused the loss of three lives. This information was shared by a US Attorney named Randy Grossman.

Hurtado will be supervised for three years after completing the sentence.
CNN is also working to find an attorney for Hurtado.

The event indicates the lack of concerns smugglers have for vulnerable populations, said Brandon Tucker, San Diego’s Air and Marine Director.

So many people put their lives in the hands of criminal organizations to illegally enter the US via the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, three lives were lost, but he was thankful for the efforts made by the Air and Marine Operations agents and partner agencies to rescue and safeguard 29 individuals who were stranded at sea.

References: ICE, CNN

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