Local News

Jul 14, 2014 12:51 PM

Smuggler Pleads Guilty to Murder

CORPUS CHRISTI - A human smuggler has plead guilty for the crash that killed seven immigrants at the NAS Kingsville security barrier in March 2013.

Idelfonso Garcia-Benitez was driving a pickup loaded with 14 illegal immigrants when he fled from a Kingsville police officer and headed onto the road leading to the navy facility.

Security personal raised the barrier to prevent the truck from making it on base. There wasn't much left of the truck after it hit the barrier at a high speed. Seven people in the truck died. The victims were from Guatemala and Honduras.

Investigators found Garcia-Benitez pinned behind the steering wheel of the truck with a beer bottle still in his lap.

Garcia-Benitez had already been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on charges for a smuggling conspiracy, human smuggling, and for re-entering the United States after he was deported back to Mexico.

Today he admitted his guilt on charges of murder and aggravated assault. The plea agreed to a 35 year sentence for each death and a maximum of 20 years for the aggravated assaults

District Attorney John Hubert explains the sentencing guidelines, "although there are 14 victims, sentences on the counts in the Texas State case were required by law to run concurrent with each other."

He'll serve 35 years in a state-run prison after serving the 10 years in federal prison. After serving his sentence he will be deported.


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