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
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. He 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.