CHRISTI, Texas – A 45-year-old Houston man has been ordered to prison
in Corpus Christi federal court following his conviction for
transporting an undocumented Chinese national, announced U.S. Attorney
Ryan K. Patrick.
The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before convicting Torrie Franklin Feb. 4 following a one-day trial.
Today, U.S. District Judge David S. Morales ordered Franklin to serve
a 42-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of
On Nov. 12, 2019, Franklin drove a blue four-door sedan into the
primary inspection lane at the Border Patrol (BP) Checkpoint located
near Falfurrias. Upon his arrival, authorities conducted a routine
inspection, at which time a K-9 alerted to the trunk of the vehicle.
There, they found an undocumented Chinese national.
At the time of his arrest, Franklin told authorities he had
encountered the man at a gas station. Franklin claimed the Chinese
national asked for a ride to Houston, despite not knowing any English.
He also said the man asked to ride in the trunk as opposed to inside the
At trial, the jury heard from the Chinese national who said Franklin
was the person who placed him inside the trunk. They also heard excerpts
of Franklin’s phone calls in which he admitted his role in the offense.
The defense attempted to convince the jury that Franklin was merely a
good Samaritan just providing a ride. They did not believe his claims
and ultimately found him guilty as charged.
Franklin has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a
U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
BP conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neel Kapur and Barbara De Pena are prosecuting the case.