Neil Edwin Valera Sentenced in Deaths of Three Smuggled Chinese Migrants
Assistant U. S. Attorney Michael G. Wheat (619) 546-8437
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – March 15, 2021
SAN DIEGO (STL.News) Neil Edwin Valera, a U.S. citizen who resided in Tijuana, was sentenced in federal court to five years in prison in connection with the deaths of three Chinese migrants, including a mother and her 15-year-old son, who were found in the trunk of Valera’s BMW two days after he crossed into the United States through the San Ysidro Port of Entry in the same car.
Valera, a truck driver from El Paso, Texas, pleaded guilty in February 2020 to Encouraging Aliens to Enter Resulting in Death and Bringing in Aliens without Presentation for Financial Gain.
At the sentencing hearing , U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia said: “There’s an inherent danger with putting people in the trunks and compartments of cars. It’s not just a fairy tale that people will get hurt or die – it really does happen.”
On August 11, 2019, at 4:54 p.m., San Diego police received an emergency 911 call from a person reporting a foul odor and blood dripping from a suspicious vehicle with Texas license plates parked near the 2100 block of Jaime Avenue in San Diego.