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Man charged with smuggling after California crash kills 13

EL CENTRO, Calif. (AP) — A Mexican man has been charged with coordinating a smuggling effort that left 13 people dead when their overloaded SUV was struck by a big-rig just over the border in California.

The U.S. attorney's office says Jose Cruz Noguez of Mexicali appeared in federal court in El Centro on Tuesday but didn't enter a plea to smuggling and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors say Cruz organized a smuggling run in which 25 people were crammed into a Ford Expedition that drove through a hole cut in a border fence on March 2. The vehicle was driving through California’s agricultural Imperial Valley when it was broadsided by a tractor-trailer.

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Associated Press

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