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2 sentenced for deadly Coast Guard encounter

May. 13, 2014 - 07:28AM   |  
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LOS ANGELES — A convicted smuggler who rammed his boat into a Coast Guard vessel off the Southern California coast, killing a crewman, has been sentenced to life in federal prison.

Jose Meija-Leyva of Mexico was sentenced Monday for second-degree murder stemming from the 2012 confrontation. Another Mexican man, Manuel Beltran-Higuera, got 10 years on lesser charges.

Leyva rammed his 30-foot panga boat into a Coast Guard craft that was approaching during an anti-smuggling patrol off Santa Cruz Island in Southern California.

Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, a 34-year-old Redondo Beach resident, was thrown into the water and struck by a propeller.

The panga was chased for hours before its engine died near Mexico and the men were captured.

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