Man gets prison term in Arizona smuggling case

TUCSON, AZ - A Mexican man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in a 2011 human smuggling case in which two people died in southern Arizona.

Federal prosecutors say 43-year-old Marcos Soto-Mendoza, of Tonalisco, Nayarit, Mexico, was convicted by a jury in April 2013.

A person believed to be in the country illegally was found in distress on the Tohono O'odham Nation near Tucson on June 29, 2011.

The man told Border Patrol agents he was in a group of five people who had illegally entered the country and were without water in the desert.

Two people were found dead of exposure and three were found alive including Soto-Mendoza.

Authorities say Soto-Mendoza was identified as a smuggling guide for the others, who agreed to pay him up to $2,500 apiece.

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