Trafficker gets 36-plus years for fatal confrontation with agents in Phoenix

Nov 3, 2022, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:10 pm
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX – A human trafficker who was involved in a fatal confrontation with federal agents in Phoenix three years ago was sentenced last week to more than 36 years behind bars, authorities said Thursday.

Warren Evan Jose, 38, of Tucson, was sentenced Oct. 26 to 440 months in the federal prison system after previously pleading guilty to multiple crimes related to an April 11, 2019, incident, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said in a press release.

The violent confrontation occurred after Homeland Security Investigation agents tried stopping a vehicle carrying three traffickers and two migrants in the country without authorization near 48th Street and Elliot Road in Phoenix’s Ahwatukee neighborhood.

Instead of stopping, the driver rammed into an agent vehicle before Jose started shooting.

One agent had his head grazed by a bullet before it hit him in the shoulder, and another agent almost got hit in the head, according to the release.

The driver, who police identified as 29-year-old Theresa Medina-Thomas, died at the scene. Four agents and four occupants from the traffickers’ vehicle spent time in the hospital.

Jose admitted in court that he and his two accomplices agreed to transport the migrants from Sells, Arizona, to Phoenix, according to the release. He also acknowledged that he’d been drinking and doing drugs.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transporting illegal aliens for profit with endangerment during which death resulted, two counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.

“This sentence means the defendant will spend nearly the rest of his life in prison for his actions,” Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix, said in the release. “We can rest assured that he will not present a threat to law enforcement, or the public, ever again.”

Jose’s surviving co-defendant, Valentina Valenzuela of Sells, was sentenced to 42 months in prison last year after pleading guilty to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens for profit with endangerment during which death resulted and two counts of transporting an illegal alien for profit with endangerment during which death resulted.

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Trafficker gets 36-plus years for fatal confrontation with agents in Phoenix