A Texas-based truck driver has been sentenced for attempting to smuggle humans in a locked trailer in 2021.
On May 10, 33 year old Vince Ruiz III was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by two years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas.
Ruiz pleaded guilty to charges related to human smuggling on July 6, 2022.
Ruiz was arrested on October 5, 2021, after driving a white Freightliner truck with two trailers marked “FedEx Ground” into a Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint near Falfurrias.
During the inspection, a canine unit alerted to one of the trailers.
When officers inspected the trailer, they found 20 individuals including a 16 year old minor inside the locked trailer. Officers also found 15 grams of marijuana and five grams of cocaine.
All individuals in the trailer were later determined to be in the U.S.illegally.
Ruiz later told authorities that 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.
“At the hearing, the court heard that in the event of an emergency or accident, the smuggled individuals would not have been able to extricate themselves from the inside of the trailer. In discussing the factors impacting the sentence, the court remarked on Ruiz’s use of his commercial driver’s license as a special skill in committing the offense,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.