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Truck driver pleads guilty to charge related to smuggling 20 people in locked trailer

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A Texas-based truck driver admitted to his role in a human smuggling attempt that was thwarted by Border Patrol agents in October 2021.

On July 6, 2022, Houston resident Vince Ruiz III, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of transporting illegal aliens within the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

From a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

On October 5, 2021, Ruiz drove a white Freightliner tractor pulling two trailers marked “FedEx Ground” into the primary inspection lane at the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint located near Falfurrias. During inspection, a K-9 alerted authorities to one of the trailers.  

A subsequent search of the trailer revealed 20 undocumented individuals inside behind a locked door.

Ruiz admitted he drove to Edinburg to pick up the trailer and return to Cypress. During the trip, he pulled over to the side of the road in a secluded area where the undocumented individuals were then loaded into the trailer.

Authorities later determined that the people inside the trailer were in the U.S. illegally.

Ruiz is scheduled for sentencing on October 4, 2022. He faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

The news of the guilty plea comes as the trucking industry is still reeling from the deaths of 53 people in San Antonio during a human smuggling attempt last week.

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