Human smuggler sentenced to 6 years after getting caught in Arizona with teen hidden in toolbox

Feb 6, 2024, 8:00 PM

Stock image of a lock on the bars of a prison cell...

A judge in Arizona sentenced Luis Carlos Ballesteros-Moreno to six years in prison for human smuggling, federal prosecutors announced on Feb. 6, 2024. (Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX – A human smuggler caught in southern Arizona with a young woman hidden in a toolbox was sentenced to six years in prison last week, federal authorities announced Tuesday.

Luis Carlos Ballesteros-Moreno, 43, of Hermosillo, Mexico, also faces three years of supervised release as part of the sentence handed down by a federal judge in Tucson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said in a press release.

Ballesteros-Moreno, who recently lived in Tucson, was sentenced after pleading guilty in September 2023 to transportation of illegal aliens for profit and placing in jeopardy the life of any person.

He was driving with an 18-year-old woman hidden in a toolbox mounted in the bed of his pickup truck on March 27, 2023, when Border Patrol agents stopped him at the State Route 90 checkpoint south of Benson, according to prosecutors.

The woman, who was in the country illegally, told authorities she’d been sexually assaulted by Ballesteros-Moreno. Prosecutors said evidence was presented at trial substantiating the allegation.

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Human smuggler sentenced to 6 years after getting caught in Arizona with teen hidden in toolbox