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Press Release

“Pig meat” hauler sentenced for smuggling 71 people in trailer

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

LAREDO, Texas – A 48-year-old Splendora resident has been order to federal prison for transporting undocumented aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Denny Fuentes pleaded guilty Sept. 15, 2022.

Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña ordered Fuentes to serve 15 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard the aliens, including five unaccompanied minors, were locked in the semi-trailer. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that Fuentes put everyone who was in the trailer in danger of harm.

On June 15, 2022, Fuentes drove a white semi-tractor pulling a white refrigerated utility trailer. He slowly approached the primary commercial lane at the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint in Webb county, but authorities had to order him to stop.

At initial inspection, he displayed nervous behavior, and his lips were trembling. Fuentes told authorities he was “hauling pig meat.” He provided his passport and a manifest for products requiring transport at no higher than 45 degrees. However, the trailer temperature was set at 56 degrees.

Upon a secondary inspection, authorities discovered 71 undocumented aliens that included five minors.  

The temperature inside the enclosed metal trailer was almost 80 degrees while the outside temperature was approximately 100 degrees.

Fuentes was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility no earlier than September 8, 2023.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of BP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.

Updated April 27, 2023

Human Smuggling