SAN DIEGO (AP) — A U.S. citizen has pleaded guilty in San Diego to smuggling two Mexican men into the country and allowing them to die in his car trunk.
The U.S. attorney’s office says Nicholas George Zakov pleaded guilty Tuesday to smuggling charges and to encouraging and inducing illegal aliens, resulting in death.
The Hawthorne resident could face life in prison when he’s sentenced in April.
Zakov acknowledged that he brought the men to San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry in August, hiding them in the trunk of his Dodge Challenger. He was to be paid $3,500.
Prosecutors say Zakov ignored the men’s pleas to let them out because of extreme heat.
The men weren’t breathing when inspectors opened the trunk.
They were pronounced dead at a hospital.
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