Man accused in fatal boat crash off Point Loma pleads not guilty to federal charges
The indictment against Antonio Hurtado includes charges of attempting to bring illegal immigrants into the United States, resulting in three deaths in connection with the May 2 crash.
A man accused of being behind the wheel of a boat that crashed off Point Loma during an apparent human-smuggling operation, killing three people and injuring more than two dozen others, pleaded not guilty June 1 to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with two dozen counts.
The indictment against Antonio Hurtado, 39, includes charges of attempting to bring illegal immigrants into the United States for financial gain and resulting in death in connection with the May 2 crash. Hurtado also is charged with assault on a federal officer on allegations of striking a Border Patrol agent with his knee after he was arrested.
Passengers said they paid $15,000 to $18,000 to be smuggled into the United States on the boat, according to an affidavit.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Berg entered the not guilty plea on Hurtado’s behalf in federal court in San Diego. Hurtado’s next scheduled court appearance is July 9.
Two women and one man, all Mexican citizens, were killed in the wreck. They were identified as Maria Eugenia Chavez-Segovia, 41, Maricela Hernandez Sanchez, 35, and Victor Perez Degollado, 29.
Hurtado, who authorities allege was steering the vessel that capsized about 50 yards from the shore around 10 a.m., was hospitalized along with 29 others.
According to an affidavit, migrants who were aboard the boat said they paid $15,000 to $18,500 to be smuggled into the United States, and they identified Hurtado as the vessel’s captain.
The filing also alleges that while Border Patrol agents tried to shackle Hurtado at the ankle at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol station, Hurtado struck an agent in the head with his knee.