SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A San Benito man received the maximum penalty after pleading guilty to smuggling 31 migrants.

Eric Mendiola, 37, was sentenced to five years in prison, the statutory maximum, according to a release from the United Sates Department of Justice.

On March 30, Mendiola drove a tractor trailer into a Border Patrol checkpoint near Sarita. A K-9 alerted authorities, and agents found individuals hiding behind a load of produce, the release stated.

There was discovered to be 31 migrants in the trailer; 19 from Mexico, with the rest from Columbia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The temperature inside the refrigerated trailer was 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

At the hearing, the court heard evidence detailing that this is Mendiola’s third conviction for smuggling.

Mendiola was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release following his prison sentence.