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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Texas Man Admits to Involvement in Transporting 76 Aliens

LAREDO, Texas – A 42-year-old resident of San Antonio had pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport 76 undocumented aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

On June 11, 2019, Nelson Vargas-Torres attempted to drive a tractor-trailer through the Border Patrol checkpoint located at mile-marker 29 on Interstate Highway 35, north of Laredo. Authorities became suspicious when Vargas-Torres stated he was transporting plastics, when his bill of lading actually stated “clutch parts.” A trained K-9 subsequently alerted to the possible presence of concealed humans inside the locked trailer he was hauling. Law enforcement then used wire cutters to break the seal for the trailer and eventually rescued 76 undocumented aliens from Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras who were hidden inside.

Today, Vargas-Torres pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga to conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens.

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo will impose sentencing at a later date. At that time, Vargas-Torres faces up to 10 years imprisonment. Vargas-Torres has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 17, 2019