Smugglers Sentenced in Migrant Drownings

Friday, Feb 25, 2011  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Two smugglers have been sentenced to five years in federal prison in connection with the deaths of two migrants who drowned when an overcrowded boat capsized in rough surf off the San Diego coast.

Fernando Figueroa and Javier Jimenez apologized in court Friday for leading a smuggling venture last year that killed an 18-year-old Guatemalan woman and a 24-year-old Mexican man who tried to save her.

The government wanted a sentence of nearly six years but U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Miller said he wanted a punishment that was more in line with smugglers who got into fatal traffic accidents.

Both men had been caught a week earlier trying to smuggle migrants by sea and were released by Mexican authorities.

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