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Smuggler gets nearly 7 years for Texas ship channel death

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: May 23, 2017

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A convicted human smuggler from Mexico must serve nearly seven years in a U.S. prison over the 2015 death of an immigrant struck by a Coast Guard boat as she tried to reach Texas.

Galdino Jose Ruiz-Hernandez of Oaxaca, Mexico, was sentenced Monday in Brownsville. The 38-year-old Ruiz-Hernandez was convicted of human smuggling leading to death.

Ruiz-Hernandez received 80 months for smuggling and 24 months for illegally re-entering the U.S, with the sentences concurrent. The Mexican later faces deportation.

Authorities say Ruiz-Hernandez was in the water guiding the woman through the Brownsville Ship Channel when she was hit by a Coast Guard patrol boat.

Ruiz-Hernandez was arrested after reporting that a friend told him he saw a woman's body in the channel. Officials later determined Ruiz-Hernandez was the smuggler.

A Maritime Safety and Security Team from Galveston, Texas patrols the Brownsville Ship Channel on Aug. 23, 2007.
ANDREW KENDRICK/U.S. COAST GUARD

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