Tijuana man charged in deadly smuggling-boat trek - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Tijuana man charged in deadly smuggling-boat trek

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Tijuana man in custody in San Diego is facing a federal smuggling charge for allegedly helping run an illegal border-crossing expedition at sea during which an undocumented man died, authorities said Friday.

Humberto Chavarin-Millan, 25, was charged with alien smuggling in U.S. District Court on Thursday, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Chavarin, a native of Sinaloa, allegedly admitted to helping ferry 14 other Mexican nationals intothe United States in an outboard motor-driven fishing boat early Wednesday for a fee of $5,000, ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said.

About 2:30 that morning, Border Patrol agents responding to a report of a crowded small vessel coming to shore north of Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach found the group of undocumented men and women along the shoreline in the area.

The officers then discovered a 41-year-old man lying unconscious and unresponsive in the boat. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

His name was withheld pending notification of his family, and a cause-of-death ruling was on hold pending completion of postmortem tests, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office.

Eleven other members of the traveling party were taken to a trauma center for evaluation of possible dehydration and other mostly minor ailments.

All but one of the patients was treated and released with a few hours, according to Mack. One man remained hospitalized this afternoon, she said.

A half-dozen of the detainees were being held as material witnesses in the case, and the others were designated for deportation.

At least one other leader of the ill-fated smuggling attempt is believed to remain at large.

"This is not the end of the investigation," Mack said.

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