CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Rio Grande Valley man was guilty of illegally transporting migrants within the United States, according to a ruling from a federal jury in Corpus Christi.
After a two-day trial, a jury convicted Rodolfo Cazares, 52, of San Juan, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas announced Tuesday.
On June 19, 2021, Cazares drove a tractor-trailer to the Border Patrol checkpoint near Sarita, Texas, a release from U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery stated.
An initial inspection of the tractor-trailer alerted a canine officer, which prompted law enforcement to further inspect the tractor. They subsequently discovered four undocumented individuals hidden within various parts of the vehicle, the release stated.
Law enforcement said the migrants admitted to being in the country illegally and described to authorities how they were loaded into the trailer earlier that night.
During the trial, Cazares attempted to convince the jury that he did not know the migrants were in the tractor. Ultimately, the jury found Cazares guilty as charged.
Cazares is set to be sentenced Jan. 30, 2023, when he will face up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.