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Press Release

Indictment returned for smuggling nearly 80 in trailer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

LAREDO, Texas – A 52-year-old legal permanent resident of North Carolina has been charged with human smuggling, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Today, a federal grand jury returned the three-count indictment against Aurelio Barajas-Pulido. He was originally charged by criminal complaint. He is expected to appear for his arraignment in the near future before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga.

The complaint alleges that on Feb. 8, Barajas-Pulido attempted to drive a tractor trailer through the Interstate Highway 35 checkpoint in Laredo. Upon arrival, he allegedly displayed suspicious behavior. A K-9 then alerted authorities to the presence of concealed humans, according to the charges.

Upon further inspection, law enforcement discovered 80 undocumented citizens in the trailer including three unaccompanied minors, one of whom was pregnant, according to the charges. All were allegedly determined to be in the United States illegally.

If convicted, Barajas-Pulido faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. He could also lose his status to reside in the United States.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Isaac is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Updated March 8, 2022

Human Smuggling