A Texas trucker has been convicted by a federal jury for attempting to smuggle 124 migrants through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint, while storing them in a tractor-trailer.
After a recent two-day trial, David William McKeon, 67, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to transport undocumented migrants.
One notable item from this case: McKeon maintains he didn't know there were migrants in the tractor-trailer at the time of his arrest, and this alibi served as his primary defense during the grand jury proceedings.
Here's the breakdown of reported events:
Before the midnight hour on April 19, according to a criminal complaint, McKeon allegedly met with a man at a Popeyes Chicken parking lot in Laredo, Texas, and was offered several thousand dollars to transport a shipment to San Antonio.
The next day, as the complaint attests, the same unidentified man drove McKeon to a tractor-trailer near Highway 359 in Texas and revealed another rendezvous point on a nearby dirt road.
From there, McKeon had been instructed to pick up a sealed trailer.
The arrest occurred on April 20. McKeon was driving through a border checkpoint on Interstate 35 in Texas, just north of Laredo. During the initial inspection, McKeon reportedly told agents he was a U.S. citizen and "provided the dummy manifest," which stated his destination was the Texas capital city of Austin.
During a physical search of the trailer's seal, border agents detected noises from that area and directed the driver to a secondary inspection point.
From there, Border Patrol agents broke the trailer seal and discovered the 124 migrants.
McKeon, who reportedly will be sentenced later this year by U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Last month, 53 migrants died after being housed in a hot and airless tractor-trailer rig near San Antonio, reportedly the deadliest single incident at or near the U.S.-Mexico border.
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