Last week, Sean Christopher Hale, 33, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Hale previously pleaded guilty to Transportation of Illegal Aliens for Profit Placing in Jeopardy the Life of Any Person.
“This case is a stark reminder of how human smuggling organizations endanger and exploit noncitizens looking for a better life in America,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “We must deter illegal transportation not only to vindicate our border laws, but also to protect the vulnerable among us, regardless of their immigration status.”
On June 19, 2021, Hale was stopped while driving a large water truck that was reported to be smuggling noncitizens in its tank. When Border Patrol Agents opened the steel tank of the vehicle, they found 26 individuals inside. While the individuals had only been in the tank for a short period of time, most were already sweating and having difficulty breathing. Some of the individuals rescued from the tank had fainted due to the heat and lack of oxygen.