The driver of a semi truck found to be transporting 100 migrants is facing federal charges.
The truck broke down in Ganado, Texas last week, but more information has been released since that time.
Fox 29 reports that the driver has been identified as Codi Denise Hartman, who had “ran out of diesel” and was stopped on the side of the road when a trooper pulled up to assist. Hartman told the trooper that she was hauling “energy drinks,” but got nervous when the officer requested the bill of landing.
During the interaction, the trooper noticed banging coming from the trailer, and that’s when he opened the door to discover 65 to 100 people in the back. The migrants fled once the doors opened. Only 65 have been detained so far.
The tractor and trailer were found to have fake license plates, and officers were unable to locate a bill of landing.
Once in custody, Hartman told investigators she was contacted by a friend of a friend who offered her $800 to make a five hour trip to Houston. Hartman then drove to a Love’s in Donna and picked up a tractor trailer with an unidentified hispanic female in the passenger seat. The unidentified woman allegedly took photos of Hartman’s license before they drove and threatened her family if she spoke with police about the deal.
Eventually, the two ran out of diesel on Highway 59, and that’s when the hispanic woman got out and walked away, leaving Hartman to sit for an hour before a trooper arrived to help.
“Hartman stated that she never opened the back doors to the trailer, and she thought there were energy drinks in the back of the trailer,” federal court documents read. However, evidence collected from Hartman’s phone shows conversations in which Hartman appears to have known there were people in the trailer.
“It was hot like fire. We couldn’t breathe. We were going to die,” one migrant from Guatemala told investigators.
The incident is still under investigation.