Over 60 Undocumented Noncitizens Concealed in Box Truck
ALPINE – A Las Cruces man was arrested yesterday in Brewster County on criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in human trafficking.
According to court documents, Javier Duarte, 22, was driving a box truck through the Highway 118 checkpoint when U.S. Border Patrol Agents referred him to secondary inspection. Agents found 67 people concealed in the truck. Four of the individuals were minors, ranging from eight to 13 years old. In addition, three of the individuals were found to have prior aggravated felonies to include rape, possession with intent to distribute drugs and crimes involving moral turpitude.
Duarte is charged by criminal complaint with one count of transportation of aliens and one count of aiding or assisting aliens to enter the U.S. who were previously convicted of an aggravated felony. If convicted, Duarte faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on both counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho; and Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean McGoffin made the announcement.
HSI and U.S. Border Patrol are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lance Kennedy and Kevin Eaton are prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.