Woman faces murder charge in deadly human smuggling case - Tucson News Now

Woman faces murder charge in deadly human smuggling case

Yolanda Banda (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Yolanda Banda (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A woman has been arrested on a murder charge in the death of an illegal immigrant who died in a human smuggling operation she allegedly orchestrated.

According to the probable cause statement, Pinal County sheriff's deputies were called to the Picacho Peak Dairy Queen by witnesses who reported seeing several people "falling out" of the back of a U-Haul moving van.

Deputies made contact with 12 illegal immigrants and the U.S. Border Patrol took nine of the people into custody and the other three were taken by medical helicopter to local hospitals for severe heat-related injuries.

Witnesses saw a man and woman get out of the front of the U-Haul. They were identified as Nathan Lamb and Elizabeth Key and they told deputies they were approached by a man on July 6 in North Phoenix who asked them to drive a rented U-Haul to Douglas, pick up people and take them back to Phoenix in exchange for money. They said the man gave them map of the route to avoid U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints.

According to the report, when they were near the Tucson area the people in the back of the van began to bang on the walls, telling the driver it was hot and they needed water.

PCSO said one of the people in the back of the van died on July 9 at University Medical Center in Tucson from heat-related injuries.

Detectives issued a search warrant at the U-Haul rental on July 12 and found a rental contract signed by Yolanda Banda, of Glendale, and a gas receipt in Douglas with Banda's credit card. Detectives learned Banda and her boyfriend, Gerad Punch, were smuggling illegal immigrants using rented U-Haul trucks.

Banda was arrested on Wednesday night at her home on North 19th Avenue in Phoenix.

Banda faces one count of second-degree murder, one count of human smuggling and one count of unlawful transport.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • breaking

    UPDATE: Tucson police connect barricaded man to earlier shooting

    UPDATE: Tucson police connect barricaded man to earlier shooting

    Friday, October 20 2017 11:03 PM EDT2017-10-21 03:03:39 GMT

    One man is in the hospital and another is in custody following a shooting on the south side of Tucson Friday, Oct. 20.

    One man is in the hospital and another is in custody following a shooting on the south side of Tucson Friday, Oct. 20.

  • Jobs on the rise, unemployment dropping in Arizona

    Jobs on the rise, unemployment dropping in Arizona

    Friday, October 20 2017 10:09 PM EDT2017-10-21 02:09:44 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    The latest Arizona economic report shows jobs are increasing statewide and the unemployment rate is dropping, although it's still above the federal figures. And while the state has every reason to celebrate the good news, things are not as stellar in southern Arizona. 

    The latest Arizona economic report shows jobs are increasing statewide and the unemployment rate is dropping, although it's still above the federal figures. And while the state has every reason to celebrate the good news, things are not as stellar in southern Arizona. 

  • Woman attempts to smuggle drugs across border inside her body

    Woman attempts to smuggle drugs across border inside her body

    Friday, October 20 2017 9:27 PM EDT2017-10-21 01:27:13 GMT
    Drugs found inside 28-year-old smuggler. (Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)Drugs found inside 28-year-old smuggler. (Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

    “The concealment of narcotics inside the body is an extremely dangerous method often attempted by smugglers,” said John Schwamm, San Luis Port Director.  “It can be instantly fatal should the narcotics seep through the packaging and be absorbed into the body.” 

    “The concealment of narcotics inside the body is an extremely dangerous method often attempted by smugglers,” said John Schwamm, San Luis Port Director.  “It can be instantly fatal should the narcotics seep through the packaging and be absorbed into the body.” 

Powered by Frankly