MOAB, Utah (ABC4) – A window tint violation has led to the arrests of two men for human smuggling on Friday.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspects as 32-year-old Mauricio Tellez and 38-year-old Abel Linares Alvarez.
Authorities first pulled over the suspects after noticing a window tint violation. The suspects were pulled over on Highway 191 near milepost 128. During questioning, deputies noticed a few people in the backseat and asked the suspect to roll the windows down.
Deputies discovered a total of 12 people inside the car — four people in one row, two people lying on the floor, four people in the third row, and two people crammed into the back, not sitting in seats.
Authorities say the passengers appeared “terrified” and some were under the age of 18.
Deputies suspected human smuggling at the time and pulled the driver out for questioning. Google Translate was used to communicate as the suspect did not speak English.
The suspect told deputies the people inside the vehicle were “going to work” and are “good people.” He eventually admitted to accepting a payment of $650 to drive the passengers to different locations within the U.S.
All 12 passengers were not U.S. citizens at the time of discovery. The driving suspect was arrested on 12 counts of aggravated human smuggling and one count of a window tint violation. The second suspect was arrested on 12 counts of aggravated human smuggling.
Both suspects were transported to the Grand County Jail.