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Press Release

South Texan sent to prison for hauling 32 people in horse trailer

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

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 34-year-old Mission resident has been sentenced following his conviction for transportation of undocumented aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Simon Garcia III pleaded guilty Dec. 15, 2023.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has now ordered Garcia to serve 24 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence regarding the circumstances of the crime such as the heat and cramped conditions. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the number of people transported in the horse trailer.

On Sept. 15, 2023, Garcia approached the Falfurrias Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint driving a black Dodge Ram 3500 truck with an attached horse trailer and four horses. A K-9 alerted to the vehicle and authorities referred him to secondary inspection.

Upon further investigation, law enforcement discovered 32 people hidden within a storage compartment inside the trailer. All were illegally present in the United States and cramped into a small area.

After refusing to get inside the trailer, one person recalled that he was forced into the trailer. Some described how they crossed into the United States and were held at stash houses before masked individuals told them to get into the horse trailer, not move and be quiet. Another person said he was sweating excessively, had a hard time breathing, had no way to escape and feared for his life.

Garcia will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations and BP conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Liesel Roscher prosecuted the case.

Updated April 3, 2024

Human Smuggling