DEL RIO, Texas (FOX 44) – A Temple man was sentenced Tuesday to 136 months in prison for conspiracy to transport undocumented immigrants resulting in death.

According to court documents from the Department of Justice, between July 24, 2020, and July 26, 2020, 22-year-old Saul Benitez-Gonzalez conspired with Raul Perez-Benitez (indicted separately) and others to smuggle non-citizens from Mexico to the United States. Benitez helped and prepared Perez to illegally transport nine Mexican citizens into the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered Perez driving a GMC Sierra five miles north of Brackettville on July 26, 2020. When the agents tried to conduct an immigration inspection, Perez failed to yield and a highspeed chase ensued. Agents terminated the pursuit after speeds of 100 miles per hour were reached.

According to the Department of Justice, agents discovered the GMC had an accident later that morning. The GMC appeared to have flipped and rolled after hitting a large boulder.

Of the nine Mexican citizens being transported by Perez in the GMC, two died from fatal injuries received in the accident. Three others were transported to a medical facility with serious bodily injuries. Four others sustained minor injuries, and were transported to a Border Patrol station for processing.

The Department of Justice says that on January 13, 2023, Perez was sentenced to 63 months with credit for time served since his incarceration on July 26, 2020.

HSI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Izaak Bruce and Larry Fadler prosecuted the case.