Man caught trafficking humans a third time, officials say

Juan Rodriguez

A 34-year-old Mexican national who was caught Monday on Interstate 70 transporting 10 other illegal immigrants in a van had been deported for doing the same thing in Mesa County in 2006.

Juan Miguel Rodriguez was driving eastbound on Interstate 70 in the area of the De Beque tunnels when a Colorado State Patrol trooper pulled over the van for traveling 71 mph in a posted 60 mph zone, according to an arrest affidavit.

The passengers of the vehicle included two women, a 3-year-old boy and six men who had been traveling from Los Angeles and expected to be dropped off in the area of I-70 and Federal Boulevard in Denver, according to the affidavit.

When questioned by the trooper, the passengers said they were citizens of Mexico and did not have papers to be traveling legally through the United States. The passengers are being detained in the Park County Jail, while Rodriguez was in Mesa County Jail on Tuesday.

After running fingerprints for Rodriguez, his name came back as Manuel Jovino-Alvarez, the affidavit said. Under that name, the man had been detained by Mesa County officials after he was determined to be the driver of a vehicle containing 14 illegal immigrants in 2006. He was deported but did not face criminal charges for that incident.

A year later, in 2007, the man was caught transporting immigrants in Kansas and was deported again, the affidavit said.

Rodriguez told the trooper he has transported undocumented people across the U.S. in exchange for money on numerous occasions and already has done three transports this year, according to the affidavit. Rodriguez said he worked for the same group of people for years doing the transporting, and for this trip he would be paid $1,000 and the cost of gas money after returning the van to its owners in California, the affidavit said.

Rodriguez is facing 10 felony charges of smuggling and one felony charge of an immigration violation.


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