EL PASO, Texas
The Mexican government has charged a U.S. truck driver caught with 268,000 rounds of ammunition at a border crossing in Ciudad Juarez with smuggling military ammunition, U.S. embassy officials in Mexico said Thursday.
Jabin Bogan, 27, of Dallas, is confined to the Villa Aldama federal prison in the state of Veracruz and could face up to 35 years in prison, the embassy said in a statement. Bogan was trying to drive the truck across the border from El Paso, Texas, when Mexican customs inspectors found the assault rifle ammunition, according to authorities.
Bogan's boss, Dennis Mekenye, operations manager of Demco freight company, has said Bogan told him he took a wrong turn in El Paso and inadvertently crossed the border into Mexico.
Mexico prosecutors contend the cargo was ammunition that could be used in the assault rifles of choice of the drug cartels there.
Bogan's mother, Aletha Smith, said Thursday that although she hasn't been able to speak to her son, she knows he isn't guilty. She said she would like to travel to Mexico to see him but that she doesn't "know how that would work.
"I know there is a God, and as God is my witness, I know he knows my son is innocent and he will release my son," Smith said.
Mekenye said Bogan informed him that after making two of his three stops in El Paso, Texas, he proceeded to drive to the third stop before heading to Phoenix, where the ammunition was to be delivered. But he took a wrong turn and found himself at the Bridge of The Americas, unable to make a U-Turn.
Both U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they have no reports from officers that would indicate a truck driver stopped at the border bridge asking for directions on how to return to the highway.
"Had he told us it was not his intention to go to Mexico, we would have stopped traffic to allow him to initiate a U-turn and head north away from the port," said Customs and Border Protection spokesman Roger Maier.
The ammunition was supposed to be delivered to United Nations Ammo in Arizona, and the owner has said the bullets were intended to be sold and used in the U.S.
Smith said El Paso based lawyer Carlos Spector has been hired to represent her son and that he will hire an attorney in Mexico. A call to Spector's office was not immediately returned.
The embassy's statement said embassy officials have visited with Bogan and are in contact with his family.