William Marice Brown told a paramedic that he had been paid $2,000 to drive five undocumented migrants out of Cochise County and referred to the people stuffed in his rented pickup as a “load,” documents show.
Brown, 26, of Mesa, is charged with two counts of murder and many other offenses.
Two of the five undocumented persons that Brown had been paid to transport out of the area in January were killed after they were ejected from the truck Brown was driving, police said.
According to police reports and a 16-count indictment, Brown and another man drove to Douglas in two separate vehicles to pick up 10 undocumented migrants. The pickup was scheduled for the night of Jan. 5 at a Speedway gas station on State Route 80 in the city.
As the migrants were climbing into the respective vehicles — a Jeep Commander and a Ford F-150 — an off-duty Border Patrol agent spotted the activity and called it in to his colleagues. At that point, Border Patrol agents spotted Brown’s truck and the Jeep. They began following them on SR 80 as the drivers of both vehicles headed out of Douglas and toward Bisbee, reports show.
Both suspects accelerated on the highway and attempted to escape at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, police said. The headlights on their vehicles were turned off and they almost slammed into other motorists as they tried to elude capture. Border Patrol agents called ahead to alert Bisbee police of the situation, reports show.
One Bisbee officer clocked Brown driving at 103 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone near the city, reports show.
When Brown approached the traffic circle in Bisbee, he took the turn too fast, sending the truck flying and then flipping over, police said. All five of his charges were thrown from the truck, landing on the asphalt, police said. Two of those individuals were killed. Brown was also injured.
The driver of the Jeep Commander, meanwhile, kept going on the traffic circle until he was able to get onto State Route 92 and head west again. That suspect, whose name has not been released, was stopped at Jimmy’s Hot Dogs by Bisbee Police Chief Albert Echave. The Jeep held five undocumented migrants who were taken into custody by the Border Patrol, police said.
According to officers at the scene that evening, Brown seemed oblivious to the deaths and injuries of his charges. One officer stated that Brown had “total disregard for human life.”
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said recently that most, if not all, of the people hired to smuggle people through the county hail from either Phoenix or other large municipalities. These smugglers, referred to as “coyotes,” are usually recruited by the Mexican cartel via social media. They are offered thousands of dollars to transport their “loads” to Phoenix or Tucson, Dannels said.
Brown was also charged with endangerment, unlawful flight from law enforcement and aggravated assault. He is being held on a $1 million cash bond.
His case has moved slowly though Cochise County Superior Court and was delayed once again last month after Brown obtained a new attorney. He is scheduled to appear in court again in June before Cochise County Superior Court Judge Laura Cardinal.