A federal jury in Texas convicted a truck driver from North Carolina for his role in a human smuggling organization, including stuffing an underage pregnant female in a tractor-trailer with 79 other migrants.
Late last week, a federal jury in Laredo, Texas, convicted 52-year-old Aurelio Barajas-Pulido on one count of human smuggling following a one-day trial. Barajas Pulido was working with human smugglers and his job was to drive a trailer full of migrants from Laredo to El Paso. Authorities presented statements from Barajas where he claimed he was previously unemployed and was offered between $1,100 and $1,500 for a week of work. Even though he was living in North Carolina, he operated between California and Texas and was notified when a trailer was ready.
His defense claimed that he did not know there were migrants in the cargo, but the jury ultimately did not believe him. His sentencing is set for later this year, according to federal prosecutors. He could face up to 10 years in prison. Barajas Pulido is a legal permanent resident, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations. He could lose his green card and be deported in the future.
According to the criminal complaint, the case began on February 8, 2022, when U.S. Border Patrol agents first arrested Barajas Pulido during the failed smuggling attempt. Agents claimed that Barajas acted suspiciously when he tried to drive through a checkpoint north of Laredo. The agents asked Barajas Pulido for his documents, and he presented his permanent resident card and a bill of lading. When authorities noticed that the temperatures for the trailer listed in the documents did not match, they sent Barajas Pulido to a secondary inspection. A police dog alerted to 80 migrants in the trailer.
Among the migrants, authorities found three underage teens and a pregnant 15-year-old.
Luisana Moreno is a contributing writer for Breitbart Texas.