A court in Houston, Texas in the southwestern United States, has convicted three U.S. citizens of involvement in a human trafficking ring responsible for the deaths of 19 people in 2003.

Victor Sanchez Rodriguez was found guilty of 17 of the 20 smuggling charges against him. His wife, Emma Rodriguez, was convicted of 14 smuggling counts, and her half-sister, Rosa Sarrata Gonzalez, was convicted of one smuggling count.

The three were participants in an operation carrying more than 70 illegal immigrants in a tractor-trailer rig from southern Texas, near the border with Mexico, to Houston. Seventeen people died during the trip of dehydration, overheating and suffocation. Two more died later.

Eleven other people have been indicted in the case.

The Houston Chronicle reports sentencing is set for May.

Some information for this report provided by AP.