Friday, April 08, 2005

A Mexican citizen charged with transporting 12 illegal aliens for profit will change his plea to guilty Monday, April 11, in U. S. District Court in Springfield.
According to a filing Friday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Yovani Diaz-Cruz, who was arrested March 12 by the Joplin Police Department, will enter his plea during a 2 p.m. hearing.
A federal grand jury last month indicted Diaz-Cruz, who was arrested after JPD officers came across a 1995 GMC Safari Van parked at the corner of Main and F with Diaz-Cruz in the driver's seat.Twelve other Hispanic men were found hiding under a nearby bridge. Believing them to be undocumented aliens, Joplin Police called the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Springfield. All 12 men admitted to being Mexican citizens illegally in this country, according to court documents."They claim to have paid between 1,000 and 2,000 dollars for transportation from Phoenix, Ariz., to Georgia or Kentucky," Special Agent James Webb said in an affidavit filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. "Three of the 12 claimed to have paid 5,500 pesos as their fee for transportation. The group identified (Diaz) as the driver of the vehicle."
A check with the FBI database determined that Diaz had been deported from this country twice, on March 10, 2003, and April 20, 2003, both times from Nogales, Ariz.
The preliminary hearing for Travis Wyrick, 18, Joplin, who is charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the January hit-and-run death of Joplin High School senior Jamison Alexander, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, in Jasper County Circuit Court.

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