On October 26, 2022, Warren Evan Jose, 38, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced by United States District Judge Scott H. Rash to 440 months in prison. Jose previously pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens for Profit with Endangerment During which Death Resulted, two counts of Assault on a Federal Officer with a Dangerous Weapon, and two counts of Discharge of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence.
On June 29, 2021, his co-defendant, Valentina Valenzuela, of Sells, Arizona, was sentenced by Judge Rash to 42 months in prison. She pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens for Profit with Endangerment During which Death Resulted and two counts of Transporting an Illegal Alien for Profit with Endangerment During which Death Resulted. A third co-conspirator, the decedent, died during the commission of the crimes.
During Jose’s guilty plea, he admitted that on or about April 11, 2019, the three co-conspirators agreed to pick up two undocumented noncitizens at or near Sells, Arizona and transport them to Phoenix. The three co-conspirators then picked up two undocumented noncitizens and planned to transport them to Phoenix, in return for payment.
While transporting the undocumented noncitizens, Jose, Valenzuela, and the decedent drank alcohol and used drugs. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) noticed the vehicle and activated their lights and sirens to stop the vehicle. The decedent, who was driving, failed to stop, and attempted to flee by crashing the vehicle into one of the agent’s vehicles.
Following the crash, Jose began firing on the federal agents, using a Century Arms, 7.62×39 pistol, an AK-47-style firearm. At his guilty plea hearing, Jose admitted that he knew they were law enforcement agents when he fired at them. The shots fired by Jose grazed one HSI agent on the head and hit him on the shoulder. Jose barely missed hitting a second HSI agent in the head.
At his guilty plea hearing, Jose admitted that his use of drugs and alcohol and his firing of the AK-47-style pistol were the proximate cause of the decedent’s death.
“This lengthy sentence serves as a testament to HSI’s commitment, alongside our law enforcement partners, to bring justice to a man for his vile attempt to kill the federal agents who were attempting to thwart his illegal activity – illegal activity that caused the death of another person,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “The men and women of HSI will not be deterred in their pursuit of those that use violence to further their human smuggling schemes. This sentence means the defendant will spend nearly the rest of his life in prison for his actions. We can rest assured that he will not present a threat to law enforcement, or the public, ever again.”
“Alien smuggling is a dangerous business under any circumstances,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “It’s much more so here, where the defendant possessed an assault weapon during the smuggling crime, and used it against law enforcement agents.”