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Tucson man sentenced to 17 years for human smuggling, shooting at Border Patrol agents

TUCSON - A 23-year-old Tucson man was sentenced by the U.S. District Judge Jennifer G. Zipps to 204 months in prison on Friday.

Roberto Ramirez, the defendant, previously pleaded guilty back in August to one count of Transportation of Illegal Aliens for Profit Placing in Jeopardy of Life, three separate counts of Assault on a Federal Officer with a Deadly Weapon, and one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.

On Christmas Eve 2017, Ramirez transported two undocumented immigrants for profit and fled from the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-19 at speeds close to 100 mph, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona.

As three Border Patrol agents were in pursuit, Ramirez tried to ram their patrol vehicles with his own.

When Border Patrol agents did not back down from their pursuit, Ramirez then proceeded to fire shots at the agents with a revolver.

The firearm eventually lost ammunition and when this happened, Ramirez lost control of his vehicle which then rolled multiple times.

One of the two undocumented individuals was not properly secured in the car and was ejected from the Ramirez's vehicle.

That individual suffered head trauma which caused him to be in a coma, and sustained a broken shoulder and collarbone resulting in the permanent disfigurement of one of his shoulders, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona. The other individual suffered a permanent injury to one of his eyes that will affect his vision for the rest of his life.

The following is statement from Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge, Scott Brown:

“This case highlights the dangers involved with illegal alien smuggling. Recklessly, the driver caused bodily harm to two other people during the rollover, as he callously attempted to flee law enforcement officers while shooting at them. HSI continues to aggressively target and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that profit from the suffering of individuals.”

Scott Brown, Homeland Security Investigations

The investigation in this case was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations. 

United States Attorney Michael Bailey said that smugglers like Ramirez present a danger to everyone and that law enforcement officials will partner to "aggressively prosecute these cases."

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Carla Litto

Digital content producer for KVOA News 4 Tucson. Carla previously interned at the NBC affiliate. She is currently a senior at UArizona majoring in journalism.

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