Florida Truck Driver Convicted in Alien Transportation Conspiracy
|March 22, 2013|
LAREDO, Texas – Jesus Lopez Cabrera, of Haileah, Fla., has been convicted by a federal jury verdict after a three-day trial of conspiracy to transport and the transportation of undocumented persons, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The verdict was announced earlier today in U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña’s court after less than two hours of deliberation.
During the trial, the jury heard testimony that Jesus Lopez Cabrera worked for Tiger Express Services Inc. This was a small trucking company with five to six drivers that moved sodas, crates, tomatoes, tiles and crates as well as human beings like cargo. Drivers were caught with undocumented persons in the back of their vehicles on July 27, 2012; Oct. 11, 2012; Oct. 27, 2012; and Nov. 9, 2012, at various checkpoints in South Texas. The tractors and trailers used in these events were cross-referenced to other drivers in the company.
In particular, Cabrera, was caught at the I-35 Border Patrol Checkpoint north of Laredo with 14 undocumented persons in the back of his tractor trailer. These persons were packed like cargo in a small space between wooden crates with little room to move. This tractor trailer had a Tiger Express Services Inc. logo on it and was registered to Cabrera.
Evidence also proved Cabrera purchased a trailer in McAllen on Oct. 3, 2012.This trailer was used to haul 13undocumented persons on Nov. 9, 2012. These persons were packed in small spaces amongst tomatoes. Two of these persons had also received a ride in the back of a Tiger Express trailer driven on Oct. 27, 2012.
During the trial, the jury heard from the people transported by Cabrera and others. They described the same pattern of operation for this organization. They were crossed into the United States, housed for a couple of days and then taken to the brush along an isolated road near McAllen and were told to wait for a trailer. When a trailer arrived, they ran into the back. They never saw the drivers.
Cabrera is expected to be sentenced in the late Spring of 2013, at which time he will face up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Garcia has been in custody since March 18, 2012.
The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in conjunction with the U.S. Border Patrol. Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth R. Rabe and James Bruce Hepburn prosecuted the case.