Glendale man sentenced to 6 months in prison for role in smuggling death

Apr 22, 2023, 2:00 PM

(Facebook Photo/Gila River Police Department)...

(Facebook Photo/Gila River Police Department)

(Facebook Photo/Gila River Police Department)

PHOENIX — A Glendale man was sentenced to six months in prison, plus two years of supervised release, for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death.

Trajahn Alexander Johnson, 25, pleaded guilty to the charge, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Arizona.

He is the fifth person sentenced in the case. Four others also were previously charged for their role in the case.

Israel Omar Vargas, 21, of Avondale, was sentenced to 80 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release; Worine Terrell Sams, Jr., 25, of Mesa, was sentenced to 64 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release; Tristan James Mott, 22, of Mesa, was sentenced to 78 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release; and Jera Simone Richard, 25, of Tempe, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.

On Oct. 1, 2020, the Gila River Police Department discovered 14 undocumented noncitizens in a U-Haul truck during an investigative traffic stop.

One of the passengers in the truck had died during transportation. Four others were taken to a hospital, suffering from heat-related illnesses.

Police identified Richard as the driver of the truck and Mott as the passenger. It was later determined that Richard and Mott had coordinated the transport with Vargas, Sams and Johnson.

“Human smuggling is always a risky business proposition, and sometimes those seeking a better life in America pay the ultimate price,” U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said in the press release.

“Thanks to the collective work of a private citizen calling 911, observant tribal police officers and dedicated federal agents, we disrupted an alien smuggling scheme and held these five defendants accountable for the death of a migrant in their care.”



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Glendale man sentenced to 6 months in prison for role in smuggling death