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Press Release

Zapata man admits to fleeing checkpoint with 63 hidden in trailer

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

LAREDO, Texas - A 30-year-old Zapata man has entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to transport aliens within the country, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

On Jan. 21, Leonidas Navarro drove a semi-truck and trailer combination through the Laredo North Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 35. Upon inspection, a K-9 alerted to the presence of contraband in the trailer. Navarro also could not provide a bill of lading for the goods he was supposedly transporting. He was then referred to secondary inspection.

However, rather than complying, Navarro increased his speed and drove through a fence and into a field before he ultimately crashed. He jumped out of the truck and attempted to flee, but was soon captured.

Authorities found a total of 63 aliens that had been hidden inside the truck. None were seriously injured during the crash.

U.S. District Court Judge Diana Saldaňa will impose sentencing at a later date, at which time Navarro faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

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

Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Harrison is prosecuting the case.

Updated June 8, 2020

Human Smuggling