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Press Release

South Texas man admits to hauling onions…and 68 people in trailer

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

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 45-year-old Pharr resident has pleaded guilty to illegally transporting undocumented aliens within the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Leonardo Davila Sr. admitted to smuggling the individuals while driving an 18-wheeler.

On May 4, 2021, Davila drove a tractor trailer into the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint near Falfurrias. At inspection, a K-9 alerted authorities to the presence of concealed humans. Law enforcement opened the trailer and discovered 68 undocumented individuals among pallets of onions.

The individuals in the trailer were from Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Peru. They were all determined to be in the United States illegally.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will impose sentencing Oct. 13. At that time, Davila faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

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

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of BP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Overman is prosecuting the case.

Updated July 14, 2022

Human Smuggling