9 get prison for Houston-based immigrant smuggling

McALLEN, TX

Officials say 34-year-old Rafael Valles of the McAllen area was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in federal prison. A Mexican citizen, 32-year-old Refugio Reyna-Huerta, received an eight-year prison term.

Both pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants.

Investigators say a February 2010 traffic accident near Falfurrias led to the death of a person from Mexico. Authorities say the victim was among 17 illegal immigrants being transported in a fleeing pickup when the truck rolled.

Seven other convicted members of the smuggling ring received prison terms Tuesday ranging from nearly two years to more than six years.

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