6th person arrested in Pinal human-smuggling death
Gerald Alan Turner, 39, was arrested Thursday, Aug. 29, 1913, in Phoenix by the U.S. Marshals Office Fugitive Task Force. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Nathan Lamb, left, and Elizabeth Kay were driving the U-Haul truck that carried the undocumented immigrants. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Enrique Morales Velazquez, 53, was arrested Tuesday by Phoenix police. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Gerad Punch was arrested July 18 by Phoenix police. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Yolanda Banda was arrested July 17 by Phoenix police. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
FLORENCE, AZ (CBS5) -
A sixth and final suspect has been arrested in connection with the human smuggling-related death of a man found in the back of a sweltering U-Haul truck in July, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
Gerald Alan Turner, 39, of Phoenix, was located about 2 p.m. Thursday near Glendale and 75th avenues and was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, said Tim Gaffney of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
Turner was wanted on a felony murder warrant and was considered armed and dangerous, Gaffney said.
Enrique Morales Velazquez, 53, identified as a Mexican national living in Phoenix, was arrested Aug. 13 near Interstate 17 and Peoria Avenue by Phoenix police officers.
Velazquez became the fifth person arrested on suspicion of murder.
The dead man was one of eight suspected undocumented immigrants suffering from heat-related symptoms after they were found July 7 in the back of a U-Haul truck that was stopped near Picacho Peak on Interstate 10 while en route to Phoenix from Douglas.
The man was taken off life support and died July 10 of hyperthermia, according to a PCSO spokesman.
The truck's driver, Nathan Lamb, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Kay, both 25 and from Phoenix, were arrested and booked into jail July 8 on numerous counts of human smuggling, aggravated assault and endangerment.
Their charges were changed after the man's death to one count of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, six counts of kidnapping and six counts of human smuggling.
Lamb and Kay said they heard "pounding and banging" from inside the cargo area, but didn't stop right away during a trip from Douglas to Phoenix on Sunday, according to the release. The pair eventually stopped near Picacho Peak and were alarmed at the condition of the people in the back, became scared and fled, according to the release.
Deputies said they found several Hispanic adult males and females standing, sitting or lying nearby or inside of the U-Haul. The individuals told deputies, there were approximately 14-20 illegal immigrants in the truck when it stopped. All of them were picked up in Douglas.
The victims said they paid $5,000 each to be taken to Phoenix.
Three of the subjects, including the man who eventually died, were found in critical condition and had to be taken by air ambulance to a hospital, five of the subjects were taken by ambulance to local hospitals.
A total of eight people were initially found at the scene. Witnesses told deputies that five to six other people were seen walking east into the desert after the truck stopped, and U.S. Border Patrol agents found them and took them to the Casa Grande Border Patrol station for interviews.
An ensuing investigation resulted in the arrest of Yolanda Banda, 48, July 17 by Phoenix police near I-17 and Peoria Avenue. She was also booked on one count of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, six counts of kidnapping and six counts of human smuggling.
Phoenix police also arrested Gerad Punch, 28, of Phoenix, on July 18 near I-17 and Glendale Avenue.
He was booked into jail on the same charges as Lamb, Kay and Banda.
The Phoenix Police Department, Pinal County Attorney's Office and the Office of Homeland Security played integral roles in the investigation and arrests, said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
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