updated 10/7/2008 10:31:48 AM ET 2008-10-07T14:31:48

A woman who spent nearly three years in prison for her role in the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt will return to prison for up to an additional four years, a judge ruled.

Prosecutors won an appeal to return Norma Gonzalez Sanchez, 48, to prison, arguing that her original 33-month sentence was "unreasonable" because it meant she would spend less than three years in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.

Gonzalez Sanchez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented immigrants illegally under circumstances that placed the lives of people in jeopardy and caused serious bodily injury and death, according to U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle's office.

The May 2003 smuggling attempt resulted in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants, who were packed into the back of a tractor trailer. The trailer was found at a truck stop near Victoria, about 100 miles southwest of Houston.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes re-sentenced Gonzalez Sanchez to 84 months on Monday, but she will receive credit for time served. The judge ordered Gonzalez Sanchez to voluntarily surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service on Oct. 20.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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