Two men arraigned for alien smuggling

Charges stem from event off Torrey Pines beach where two drowned

Two men were arraigned Tuesday on alien smuggling charges in connection with the drowning deaths of two immigrants off Torrey Pines State Beach.

Fernando Figueroa-Rodriguez, 50, and Javier Jimenez-Yucupicio, 45, were charged in a 30-count indictment handed up last week by a federal grand jury in San Diego.

Both pleaded not guilty to federal charges of bringing in illegal aliens resulting in death, bringing in illegal aliens for financial gain and bringing in illegal aliens without presentation.

According to court documents, a San Diego police officer heard screams for help from the beach at 4:07 a.m. on Jan. 16 and saw a number of people attempting to swim to shore from an overturned panga-style boat.

A massive search-and-rescue operation was launched, and 16 people were located, all of them Mexican and Guatemalan nationals with no documents permitting them to be in the United States, authorities said.

A 34-year-old Mexican citizen and an 18-year-old Guatemalan citizen drowned in the smuggling attempt.

Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo set a Feb. 26 motions and trial-setting hearing before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller.