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2 Plead Guilty in Fatal Smuggling Case

October 4, 2006

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) _ Two men accused in a deadly migrant smuggling trip pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges.

Heinrich Castillo Diaz, 28, and Rolando Gonzalez Delgado, 20, face a maximum life in prison at sentencing, set for Jan. 8.

They pleaded guilty Tuesday to 68 counts, including involuntary manslaughter for the death of 24-year-old Anay Machado Gonzalez. She hit her head after the 36-foot speedboat carrying her and 28 other migrants tried to evade the Coast Guard.

The chase ended when the Coast Guard fired shots to disable the boat’s engines.

A third defendant, 32-year-old Amil Gonzalez Rodriguez, decided to go to trial, expected to start next week. He has said he is not a smuggler but was a migrant like the others intercepted about 4 miles south of Boca Chica in the Florida Keys on July 8.

``He’s innocent,″ said his attorney, Irving Gonzalez.

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