ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona man who recruited human smugglers over Snapchat sentenced to nearly 6 years

Jan 23, 2024, 3:00 PM

Photo of snapchat recruiting smugglers and a prison fence....

An Arizona man was sentenced to over 5 years in prison for conspiring to smuggle migrants for profit. (U.S Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona, Getty Images photos)

(U.S Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona, Getty Images photos)

PHOENIX –An Arizona man was sentenced to over 5 years in prison last week for conspiring to smuggle migrants for profit, authorities said.

Nathanael Alley Rivera of Eloy, 23, was sentenced to 71 months followed by three years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said in a Monday press release.

He previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport illegal aliens for profit.

How did the human smuggler get caught in the conspiracy?

Prosecutors said Rivera held a supervisory role in the conspiracy that involved transporting hundreds of undocumented migrants for financial gain.

Between May 2021 and November 2022, Rivera recruited drivers and mid-level coordinators for human smuggling through solicitations on Snapchat.

The posts would often feature images of substantial amounts of money, firearms and requests for drivers to transport migrants from locations near the U.S.-Mexico border to deeper into the United States, prosecutors said.

Rivera communicated on Snapchat directly with mid-level coordinators, who would then relay instructions to transport drivers.

Prosecutors said the conspiracy included the transportation of hundreds of documented migrants, during which Rivera boasted to co-conspirators about moving people in overcrowded vehicles and unsafe conditions. Minors were also involved in the smuggling events.

It’s worth noting that, in the initial months of the conspiracy, Rivera was on probation for a previous human smuggling conviction.

Homeland Security Investigations – Douglas office investigated the case.

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Arizona man who recruited human smugglers over Snapchat sentenced to nearly 6 years