New Mexico jury convicts Arizona man of human smuggling

A federal jury in New Mexico has convicted an Arizona man on a human smuggling charge.

Prosecutors say 39-year-old Francisco Armando Martinez of Tucson was found guilty Tuesday on one count of transporting immigrants who were in the country illegally.

Martinez faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced.

The evidence at trial showed a group of immigrants from Mexico paid smugglers to help them illegally cross the border into the United States.

Prosecutors say the immigrants gathered at a guest house in Agua Prieta, Sonora.

They paid for backpacks containing food and water for the trip and took a taxi to the border where a guide led them into the United States through the desert on foot.

Martinez picked up the immigrants on the side of the road to transport them.

Authorities say Martinez drove to a gas station where Border Patrol agents questioned him about the people inside his vehicle.