LOS ANGELES, Dec 22: Two Mexicans have pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and illegal immigration after they were caught in California with methamphetamine and a small boat carrying 11 migrants, the United States Department of Justice announced.
Jorge Muñoz Muñoz, 26, originally from the state of Baja California, and Roel Aranzubia Alvarez, 43, a native of Sinaloa, were indicted by a federal jury in California on 24 counts related to the trafficking of undocumented immigrants.
Muñoz Muñoz also pleaded guilty to four charges related to the importation and distribution of drugs.
The jury found Aranzubia Alvarez not guilty of drug trafficking charges.
The Mexican men were spotted by authorities on the morning of Sept. 27, 2021, in a small boat that drifted off the coast of Santa Barbara County.
The boat, which had engine problems, eventually beached on the Arroyo Quemada, about 25 miles west of Santa Barbara.
Investigation revealed that Aranzubia Alvarez was the captain of the boat, in which a total of 15 people were traveling.
Passengers were seen to drop two black bags containing a total of 40 vacuum-sealed and plastic-wrapped packets of approximately 45 pounds of methamphetamine. Police has recovered the narcotics.
Police later confirmed that the undocumented occupants of the boat boarded the boat in Ensenada (Baja California, Mexico), after paying $15,000 each to bring them to the US.
The two Mexicans will be sentenced on April 10, 2023. Muñoz Muñoz faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, and Aranzubia Alvarez faces a maximum sentence of 15 years.