Man gets 7 years for smuggling two men and causing their deaths - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man gets 7 years for smuggling two men and causing their deaths

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who tried to smuggle two Mexican citizens into the United States by hiding them in the trunk of his car -- resulting in their deaths -- was sentenced Tuesday in San Diego to seven years in federal prison.

Nicholas George Zakov, a U.S. citizen from Hawthorne, pleaded guilty in January to immigration crimes for attempting to transport Tarcisio Casas-Blanco and Jose Aurelio Quiroz-Casas across the border at San Ysidro on Aug. 12, 2014, for a $3,500 fee.

Zakov, 43, admitted that as he drove through the Port of Entry, he ignored the victims' pleas to be let out of the trunk because of the extreme heat, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Officers at the San Ysidro crossing discovered the victims unresponsive. They later died of hyperthermia and mechanical asphyxiation.

"Smugglers show a callous and extreme disregard for the well-being of their customers, because this crime is all about money," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "Never put your life in the hands of a smuggler. These men did not have to die. It's not worth the risk."

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