2 arrested for human smuggling, kidnapping in Moab

Posted at 12:10 PM, Dec 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-05 00:34:25-05

MOAB, Utah — A traffic stop for extremely dark window tint in Moab led to the arrests of two men Friday for alleged human smuggling and kidnapping.

According to the probable cause affidavit, a Grand County Sheriff's deputy pulled over a van traveling north on Highway 191 due to the dark window tint.

While speaking with the driver, Mauricio Esquivel Tellez, the deputy noticed a number of passengers in the rear of the van.

"I asked for the back window to be rolled down," the deputy wrote. "I observed 4 individuals in the middle back seat with two passengers laying on the floor, in the third row I observed 4 individuals. I became suspicious of human smuggling."

After opening the rear hatch of the van, the deputy found two more people. Urine bottles were discovered throughout the vehicle.

Tellez admitted that he was paid $650 to "travel down and get people and bring them back." The 12 people found in the van were not from the U.S. and had paid to be taken to different parts of the country.

Tellez was arrested and faces 12 counts of aggravated human smuggling, while his passenger, Abel Linares Alvarez, was also arrested and will now face 12 counts of aggravated kidnapping.