United States v. Ruiz-Hernandez, No. 17-40577 (5th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for conspiracy to bring in, transport, and harbor an alien resulting in death and one count of transporting an alien within the United States for private financial gain and resulting in death. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction where he acted in furtherance of the victim's unlawful presence in the country, he acted for the purpose of financial gain, the victim being struck by a vessel was reasonably foreseeable where she swam across a high traffic ship channel in the dark of night, and his conduct was the but-for cause of her death. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by applying sentencing enhancements under USSG 2L1.1(b)(6) for creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm and USSG 2L1.1(b)(7) for the resulting death.