July 3, 2024 / Modified jul 3, 2024 4:52 p.m.

Smuggler receives 10 years after leaving woman in borderlands to die

A federal judge in Tucson sentenced a human smuggler to 10 years in prison for crimes that include an incident ending in the death of a young mother after he left her in the desert.

border deaths 2021 cross Since the year 2000, the Pima County Medical Examiner has received nearly 4,000 sets of human remains from people who died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into Arizona. Here, a cross marking the place where a man in his 30s died in 2009 lays a few hundred yards from one of the water stations the nonprofit Humane Borders sets out for migrants crossing the desert.
Alisa Reznick/AZPM

Jesus Dessens-Romero, 28, from Agua Prieta, led a group of five Mexican nationals across the U.S.-Mexico border into Arizona in February 2021, including three sisters ages 23, 20, and 17 and their 16-year-old friend.

A press release says he led them on a perilous route into the rugged and remote Huachuca Mountains with limited food and water and serious weather conditions during the night, including cold and snow.

The 23-year-old sister became unable to eat or walk and Dessens-Romero told the group they were close to a well-traveled roadway and officials would find her if they left her there. He took the rest of the group to Sierra Vista.

Nine months later, SOS Búsqueda y Rescate, a nonprofit group who searches for missing migrants, found the woman’s skeletal remains. She is survived by her husband and daughter.

Dessens-Romero had continued smuggling people into the United States, and a jury found him guilty of multiple, including placing human life in jeopardy.

MORE: Border, Courts, Crime, News
By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona