A man pleaded guilty in the smuggling deaths of two unauthorized immigrants found in the trunk of a car in August 2014.
The migrants were found dead at the San Ysidro Port of Entry after being exposed to high temperatures with little ventilation.
Eduard Ervemac Saavedra, 44, a citizen of Peru, pleaded guilty on two counts of encouraging and inducing illegal aliens resulting in death and two counts of bringing illegal aliens into the United States for financial gain Thursday.
As part of the plea agreement Saavedra admitted to enticing another man, Nicholas George Zakov, 43, to smuggle the migrants into the U.S. with the prospect of $3,500 cash.
After recruiting Zakov, Saavedra arranged for Tarcisio Casas-Blanco and Jose Aurelio Quiroz-Casas, both Mexican citizens, to be hidden in the trunk of Zakov’s Dodge Challenger in Tijuana.
Saavedra directed Zakov to enter the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry with Casas-Blanco and Quiroz-Casas remaining in the trunk.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers later discovered Casas-Blanco and Quiroz-Casas unresponsive inside the trunk.
Despite efforts to revive the men they died of hyperthermia and mechanical asphyxiation.
Zakov is a U.S. citizen and has pleaded guilty to alien smuggling charges in the deaths of Casas-Blanco and Quiroz-Casas.
He was sentenced to 84 months in prison.
Saavedra faces three years to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 25, 2016.