On September 29, 2022, Dominque Trinidad Valdez-Velasquez, 30, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced by United States District Judge Rosemary Márquez to 18 months in prison, followed by 36 months of supervised release. Valdez-Velasquez previously pleaded guilty to Transporting Illegal Aliens, Placing in Jeopardy the Life of Any Person.
Valdez-Velasquez was arrested on December 29, 2021, during an immigration checkpoint traffic stop near Amado, Arizona. At the checkpoint, a United States Border Patrol canine alerted agents to the trunk of Valdez-Velasquez’ vehicle.
When the agents asked Valdez-Velasquez to open the trunk, they discovered four undocumented noncitizens from Mexico. According to court documents, after traveling for an hour, the noncitizens were left in the trunk, unable to move or leave, for more than four hours while Valdez-Velasquez slept in a hotel.
Customs and Border Protection’s U.S. Border Patrol conducted the investigation in this case. The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.