Exotic dancer accused of human smuggling after AZ traffic stopPosted: Updated:
An exotic dancer from Tucson has been booked into jail on six counts of human smuggling, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said.
Maria Bustamante, 33, was carrying $1,000 at the time of her arrest Friday night, PCSO said.
A deputy pulled her over for several traffic violations on Interstate 10 near Milepost 216 and discovered six men inside.
Bustamante identified her passengers as friends, but when questioned, she could not provide the names of any of the people, PCSO said.
The six men were asked where they were headed and one of them said California, sheriff's investigators said. When asked if they were U.S. citizens all of the men shook their heads and said "no."
Deputies identified the men as:
- Alejandro Santos, 36, of Puebla, Mexico. He said he has been illegally in the U.S. for the past month. He said he paid the driver $200 for the ride. This was his first time in the U.S.
- Julio Cesar Carrillo Romo, 23, of Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico. He said he has been illegally in the U.S. for the past month and a half. He said he paid the driver $120 for the ride. This was the fifth time he has entered the U.S. illegally.
- Ramon Felix Valdez, 59, of Hermosillo, Sorora, Mexico. He said he has been illegally in the U.S. for the past month. He said he paid the driver $40 for the ride. He has been deported twice before for being in the U.S. illegally.
- Joaquin Moroyoqui, 63, of La Constancia El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico. He said he has been illegally in the U.S. for the past three months. He said he met the driver of the vehicle at a bar and she agreed to give them a ride. He has been deported five prior times. He also admitted to smuggling marijuana into the United States during past trips.
- Felix Fernando Solis Morales, 30, of Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico. He said he has been illegally in the U.S. for the past two months. He paid the driver $50 for the ride. This was his first time in the United States.
- Jose Antonio Lopez Moreno, 24, of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. He said he has been illegally in the United States for the past two months. He said he was told he owed money for the ride but had not paid it to the driver yet.
All six individuals were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.
Bustamante said the father of her children is currently in jail in Texas. She said she was asked by a friend to give the six men a ride from Tucson to Phoenix, according to PCSO. She planned to drop them off in Phoenix and keep driving to Texas, deputies said. She reportedly knew all of her passengers were illegally in the U.S.
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