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Nine previously deported immigrants indicted after traffic stop on I-44

ST. LOUIS - Nine previously deported illegal immigrants were indicted Wednesday over allegations of their involvement in a human smuggling scheme, US Attorney Jeffrey Jensen said.

According to prosecutors, the incident stemmed from a traffic stop involving a van on August 2 on Interstate 44 near the Six Flags exit. The driver and passenger ran from police at the time of the traffic stop but were each apprehended a short time later.

Police discovered 14 men and 1 woman in the vehicle.  They did not have any identification and did not speak English. The investigation was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Authorities determined the driver, 24-year-old Rene Flores-Calderon, was responsible for smuggling the others. He allegedly had illegally re-entered the United States after being deported from Del Rio, Texas to Mexico in 2016.

Prosecutors identified the other eight defendants as:

  • Eladio Velasquez-Velasquez, 24, who is alleged to have been previously deported from Calexico, California earlier in 2018 to Mexico
  • Elias Velasquez-Vleasquez, 30, who is alleged to have been previously deported from Brownsville, Texas in 2009 to Mexico
  • Enrique Sebastian Cedillo-Santiago, 24, who is alleged to have been previously deported from Brownsville, Texas in 2017 to Guatemala
  • Mynor Lucas Galvez-Galvez, 28, who is alleged to have been previously deported from Phoenix, Arizona in 2015 to Guatemala
  • Jose David Hernandez-Salazar, 34, who is alleged to have been previously deported from Chandler, Arizona in 2007 to Honduras
  • Aaron Danilo Rivera-Urbina, 29, who is alleged to have been previously deported from Phoenix, Arizona in 2016 to Honduras
  • Carlos Joel Perez-Merino, 32, who is alleged to have been previously deported from Phoenix, Arizona earlier in 2018 to El Salvador
  • Jose Danilo Balan-Boc, 21, who is alleged to have been previously deported earlier in 2018 to Guatemala

Flores-Calderon was charged with eight counts of human smuggling and faces up to 10 years imprisonment on each charge, and an additional 10 years on his own unlawful re-entry charge.

Rivera-Urbina faces up to 20 years imprisonment for unlawful re-entry, because of prior criminal convictions. The remaining seven defendants listed face up to two years imprisonment for unlawful re-entry.

If convicted, all nine suspects could face deportation after finishing their prison sentences.