Driver of van deported at least twice |

Driver of van deported at least twice

DENVER – The driver of a minivan that crashed on Interstate 70, killing four illegal immigrants, had been deported at least twice.Jose Franco-Rodriguez, 23, was last sent back to Mexico eight weeks ago from Denver, said Carl Rusnok, a regional spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Dallas. He was previously deported from South Carolina.Franco-Rodriguez was being held in the Clear Creek County jail for investigation of human smuggling, a new state law, and was also being investigated by federal authorities after the crash Tuesday.Authorities said Franco-Rodriguez was driving a minivan packed with 14 people on I-70 in Idaho Springs when he lost control. The van struck a tree and rolled. Franco-Rodriguez ran off but was found about four hours later.Killed in the crash were Yanin Ocampo, 22, who was pregnant, Giovanni Lorenzo, 16, Jose Balderas, 17, and David Morales, 26, all from Mexico.Five of the survivors were in the hospital and the other five were being held in an immigration detention facility in Aurora. Investigators were interviewing them to learn more about the alleged smuggling operation that authorities said Franco-Rodriguez was working with.He had allegedly been paid $400 to drive his passengers from the Phoenix area to Kansas City and then North Carolina and Florida.Two other vans carrying illegal immigrants from Mexico were also found in Clear Creek County this week.

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