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SV man gets 57 months in prison for human smuggling

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SV man gets 57 months in prison for human smuggling

39-year-old tried to speed through checkpoint with illegal immigrants

A Sierra Vista man was sentenced to 57 months in prison for smuggling illegal immigrants and making false statements, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday.

Terry Lee Chance, 39, pleaded guilty on April 27 to conspiracy to transport aliens for profit and false statements.

Chance had been free and awaiting trial for a previous smuggling charge, when on Oct. 13, he attempted to speed past the immigration checkpoint on S.R. 90 near Whetstone with a group of illegal immigrants in his vehicle.

Chance was apprehended and he told agents one of the immigrants he was traveling with held a gun to his head and forced him to speed through the checkpoint. Agents later learned Chance had lied about the immigrant and gun.

While interviewing the group Chance was attempting to smuggle, agents found out that one of them had children who were traveling in a separate vehicle. Homeland Security investigations were able to locate that vehicle near Casa Grande, traveling toward Phoenix.

Department of Public Safety officers found the vehicle and the children were reunited with their mother.

"The defendant continued his human smuggling activities even after he had been charged for the same crime,” said acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Sheel in a Thursday press release.

“Additionally, he placed agents lives in danger by fleeing an immigration checkpoint and later concocted a story that he was forced at gunpoint to flee,” Sheel said.

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