Court continues hearing in human smuggling case
by Rudy Herndon
Staff Writer
Aug 14, 2014 | 1801 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The case against a California man charged with six felony counts of human smuggling may be resolved before it reaches the preliminary hearing phase.

Elvis J. Quintanilla-Vasquez was scheduled to appear at an Aug. 12 preliminary hearing in 7th District Court in Moab. But that hearing was continued until Sept. 23 at the request of Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald, who informed the court that the defense and prosecution need more time to reach a disposition.

Quintanilla-Vasquez stands accused of three second-degree felony charges of aggravated human smuggling and three third-degree felony charges of human smuggling.

The charges against him stem from a May 16 single-vehicle traffic accident on Interstate 70 that claimed the lives of four undocumented immigrants. Four other men, including Quintanilla-Vasquez, were seriously injured when the vehicle he was driving veered off the roadway and overturned near mile marker 197.

Authorities allege that the 36-year-old Lancaster, California, man was transporting the passengers to work for a relative in Illinois. But defense attorney Cara M. Tangaro has said she believes her client may be one of the victims in the case.

Quintanilla-Vasquez is currently free on a cash-only bond for $6,000. He was released from the Grand County Jail in June, after he began to suffer severe complications from surgery to amputate three of his fingers.

A multiple-agency investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to court records.

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