A 33-year-old Tucson woman has been jailed on six counts of human smuggling after she was allegedly pulled over with six illegal immigrants in her van.
A Pinal County Sheriff's deputy pulled over Maria Bustamante on Friday evening on westbound I-10 near milepost 216.
Bustamante was identified by her Arizona driver's license and permanent resident alien card. She claimed she was giving the men, her friends, a ride to Phoenix from Tucson.
When questioned, Bustamante could not name her friends, PCSO says. The six Hispanic men in her van were acting very nervous, according to PCSO, and admitted they were not U.S. citizens.
The six men were identified as: Alejandro Santos, Julio Cesar Carrillo Romo, Ramon Felix Valdez, Joaquin Moroyoqui, Felix Fernando Solis Morales, and Jose Antonio Lopez Moreno. They all said they were from Mexico and had been in the country for 1 to 3 months. They paid between $40 and $200 for the ride. A sixth said he was told he owed payment but had not paid yet.
Moroyoqui admitted he had been deported 5 times, PCSO says.
PCSO turned over the illegal immigrants to the Border Patrol. Bustamante was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center for human smuggling. The van and $1,000 in cash were seized.
Bustamante told detectives she works as an exotic dancer in Tucson and a friend asked her to drive the men to Phoenix. She admitted that she knew all the men were in the country illegally, according to PCSO.