Corpus Christi, Texas - An illegal alien from Mexico was sentenced Tuesday to nearly six years in federal prison following his conviction for transporting illegal aliens that resulted in the death of two vehicle occupants.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The original charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol (BP).

Amurabi Medina-Cruz, 22, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey to 71 months in prison for alien smuggling. Since he is not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison. At the hearing, the court noted the need to impose a sentence that would deter not only the defendant, but others considering engaging in similar conduct, to include evading law enforcement. Medina-Cruz pleaded guilty to the charges Oct. 19.

On Dec. 3, 2014, BP agents learned of several individuals running from the brush and entering a green Tahoe on U.S. Highway 285. A witness told the agents the Tahoe was headed eastbound on Highway 285 towards Highway 77. A BP unit located the vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Median-Cruz pulled to the shoulder of the road, as though attempting to stop, but suddenly accelerated northbound onto Highway 77.

A second BP unit appeared on the scene. Medina-Cruz noticed it and once again attempted to pull off onto the shoulder of the highway. Due to his excessive speed, the vehicle rolled over several times and ejected several occupants.

A total of eight individuals were transported to a nearby hospital for observation and treatment, two of whom later died as a result of their injuries.

Medina-Cruz will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Justin Martin, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case; and AUSA Elsa Salinas handled the sentencing.