LAREDO, Texas – A 35-year-old resident of
Laredo has entered a guilty plea to conspiring to transport aliens, announced
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
On July 8, John Bryan Meredith drove a
tractor-trailer to the Border Patrol Checkpoint on Highway 83 near Laredo. Soon
after, a K-9 alerted to the presence of concealed humans and/or narcotics
within the trailer. At secondary inspection, the K-9 alerted again.
Authorities then removed a seal and opened
the rear doors of the trailer which revealed several people, all determined to
be in the United States illegally. Those included a total of 71 subjects - 36
Mexicans, 21 Guatemalans, six Salvadorans, five Hondurans and three
Brazilians - two of whom were unaccompanied juveniles. In addition, law enforcement
also recovered a total of $7,300 hidden inside the gearshift box as well as
eight additional seals and seven cellular telephones in the sleeper area of the
Meredith claimed a friend had asked him to
drive a tractor-trailer with a load of transmissions to Uvalde, where another
driver would meet him. Meredith also stated his friend had already placed the
seal on the trailer by the time he arrived.
However, further investigation revealed
Meredith had bought the tractor himself and rented the trailer. The
investigation revealed he had driven the same tractor and trailer past the
Highway 83 checkpoint seven times between May 21, and July 8.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia-Marmolejo
will impose sentencing Jan. 27, 2020. At that time, Meredith faces up to 10
years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s
Homeland Security Investigation and Customs and Border Protection conducted the
investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bukiewicz is prosecuting the