A Houston truck driver was sentenced to federal prison after he was caught smuggling more than 100 people across the border in what was supposed to be a load of lettuce.
On July 8, 32 year old truck driver Brodrick Keith Rhodes was sentenced to 50 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Rhodes pleaded guilty on April 7 to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.
The charges stem from a human smuggling attempt that occurred on January 12, 2021.
After Rhodes arrived at the Freer Border Patrol checkpoint hauling what he claimed to be a load of fresh lettuce in a refrigerated trailer, officers became suspicious after noticing discrepancies in the bill of lading.
“Rhodes claimed he worked for a business in La Porte, but the bill of lading indicated he was transporting lettuce from a Laredo produce company to a location in Sugar Land. The business indicated Rhodes had never been employed with them nor do they even transport outside the Houston area. The other two companies confirmed they had no record of the shipment,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release.
The also noted that Rhodes seemed seemed nervous and that the refrigerated trailer was set to 30 degrees but with an internal temperature of 68.
Following a secondary inspection, officers discovered 119 people in the trailer.
According to authorities, the immigrants had been taken to the truck and told to get in the trailer. The truck departed and did not stop moving until it reached the checkpoint.
Rhodes was released on bond and will be required to voluntarily surrender himself into custody at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at a date to be determined.