Trucker Caught Smuggling 76 Illegal Immigrants Faces Decade in Prison
Laredo, TX – A Texas trucker faces up to a decade in prison for his role in smuggling 76 undocumented immigrants into the United States in June.
In a release by the United States Department of Justice, authorities said 42-year-old Nelson Vargas-Torres from San Antonio pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens in an incident that occurred on June 11, 2019.
Authorities said Vargas-Torres was driving a big rig through the Border Patrol checkpoint at mile-marker 29 on Interstate 35, just north of Laredo.
Border Patrol agents became suspicious of Vargas-Torres when he stated he was transporting plastics, but the bill of lading stated he was carrying “clutch parts.”
Authorities said a trained K-9 then alerted agents to the possible presence of concealed humans inside the trailer Vargas-Torres was hauling.
The seal of the trailer was subsequently broken by law enforcement using wire cutters.
Inside, agents located 76 undocumented aliens from Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras.
On Tuesday, Vargas-Torres pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport the undocumented immigrants before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga in the Southern District of Texas.
The truck driver faces up to 10 years in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date by U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo.
Vargas-Torres has been in custody since his arrest on June 11 and will remain detained until his sentencing.
LATEST BIG RIG BORDER BATTLE NEWS
In July 2019, U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a final rule that permanently bans drivers convicted of human trafficking from operating a commercial motor vehicle for which a commercial driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit is required.
The FMCSA’s rule followed President Trump’s signature of the “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act,” which became law in January 2018.
“If a commercial driver is convicted of using their commercial motor vehicle related to human trafficking — that person will never be driving interstate commercial vehicles again,” FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez said.
Stay logged on to TransportationNation.com as we continue to follow the big rig border battle.