California Man Accused Of Human Smuggling In Summit County
SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – A deputy with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office arrested a California man for investigation of human smuggling this week.
According to a probable cause statement, an officer patrolling 1-80 near milepoint 162 on Tuesday ran a records check on an SUV and discovered it had no insurance. When he pulled the vehicle over, he said he saw eight passengers who looked nervous and black covers over the windows. The officer said the passengers told him they paid the driver to take them from California to several cities across the country, including Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. The officer said he determined several of those passengers were in the country illegally. Some, he said, had been deported as recently as two weeks prior.
The officer said the driver admitted charging each person $150 for the trip and that he had been making the trips once or twice a month since January. The officer said the driver, identified as 33-year-old Juan Nieves, erased information on his cell phone, saying he had evidence of illegal activity on there that he did not want discovered. The officer arrested Nieves for investigation of human smuggling and obstruction of justice.
“It shows the importance of good investigative skills but more so, enforcing minor traffic violations that can turn into something bigger,” said Lieutenant Andrew Wright, a spokesperson for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
Wright said the Department of Homeland Security is also investigating and is handling the cases of the eight people who were riding in the SUV.
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