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Press Release

Native New Yorker convicted in human transporting conspiracy

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

LAREDO, Texas – A 53-year-old man has entered a guilty plea to conspiring to transport people unlawfully in the country, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery

Carl Bernstein, Plainview, New York, admitted to his role in the transportation of 42 undocumented individuals in a commercial trailer out of Laredo to a northern U.S. location.  

On June 6, 2021, local authorities stopped Bernstein for a traffic violation as he was driving a tractor-trailer on State Highway 16 near Tilden. They took him into custody upon learning of active arrest warrants.

He exited the tractor, at which time authorities opened the doors and noticed multiple people inside the trailer. All were identified as non-U.S. citizens unlawfully in the country.

Bernstein admitted he expected to be paid for driving the vehicle.

“This case was just good work by law enforcement boots on the ground from beginning to end - with great cooperation and coordination at the local and federal levels,” said sheriff Emmet Shelton of the McMullen County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). “This is how it is supposed to work. We would like to thank and recognize our federal partners for their support, work and dedication to helping keep Texas safe.”

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo set sentencing for Dec. 7. At that time, Bernstein faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.  

He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.

MCSO conducted the investigation along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Bajew is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 9, 2021

Human Smuggling