Laredoan Admits to Transporting 71 Aliens
LAREDO, Texas – A 35-year-old resident of Laredo has entered a guilty plea to conspiring to transport aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
On July 8, John Bryan Meredith drove a tractor-trailer to the Border Patrol Checkpoint on Highway 83 near Laredo. Soon after, a K-9 alerted to the presence of concealed humans and/or narcotics within the trailer. At secondary inspection, the K-9 alerted again.
Authorities then removed a seal and opened the rear doors of the trailer which revealed several people, all determined to be in the United States illegally. Those included a total of 71 subjects - 36 Mexicans, 21 Guatemalans, six Salvadorans, five Hondurans and three Brazilians - two of whom were unaccompanied juveniles. In addition, law enforcement also recovered a total of $7,300 hidden inside the gearshift box as well as eight additional seals and seven cellular telephones in the sleeper area of the truck.
Meredith claimed a friend had asked him to drive a tractor-trailer with a load of transmissions to Uvalde, where another driver would meet him. Meredith also stated his friend had already placed the seal on the trailer by the time he arrived.
However, further investigation revealed Meredith had bought the tractor himself and rented the trailer. The investigation revealed he had driven the same tractor and trailer past the Highway 83 checkpoint seven times between May 21, and July 8.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia-Marmolejo will impose sentencing Jan. 27, 2020. At that time, Meredith faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bukiewicz is prosecuting the case.