Texas trucker could be freed from Mexican prison
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Dallas truck driver who says he made a wrong turn into Mexico with a trailer full of ammunition may soon be released from a Mexican prison after paying a fine.
A federal judge overseeing the case of Jabin Bogan told The El Paso Times that the trucker can go free after he pays a $1,500 fine. Bogan's mother, Aletha Smith, told The Associated Press on Friday that the fine is actually higher and that they have been given another week to come up with the money. She said she was instructed by her attorney not to discuss the amount.
"I am happy; I need to come up with the money," Smith told the AP. "After I pay the fine, they will start the process of releasing my son."
Judge Carlos Miguel Garcia Trevino told the Times the sentence will also include three years of supervised release, though it's unclear if Bogan will be allowed to serve that time in the U.S. Smith said she was not sure how soon her son could return home.
She referred further questions to her Dallas attorney, Larry Taylor, who did not immediately return a phone message left Friday morning.
Bogan, 27, has been in a maximum security prison in Veracruz since he crossed from West Texas into Juarez, Mexico, on April 17. He had faced up to 30 years in prison on an ammunition trafficking charge, but the judge reduced the charge to possession of ammunition after testimony from Mexican customs agents contradicted prosecutors' claim that Bogan hid 268,000 bullets under floorboards.
Agents testified in June that Bogan was trying to make a U-turn back into the U.S. when they found the ammunition bundled on top of wooden pallets inside the trailer.
Since then, Bogan's lawyers and family in the U.S. have cried foul, claiming the ammunition charge was too hefty for what they claim was an honest mistake.
Bogan had made two deliveries in El Paso, Texas, and said he was supposed to drive to Phoenix to deliver assault rifle ammunition to a wholesaler there when he got lost. He said he took a wrong exit in the freeway and drove toward the border, where he said a law enforcement official told him to continue driving across the bridge. Bogan said that when he realized he had crossed into Mexico, he attempted to turn back, but the layout of the traffic lanes prevented him from returning without first crossing into the truck inspection area in Juarez.
Bogan's attorneys have said surveillance footage taken at the border crossing shows Bogan blocking several lanes of southbound traffic for more than half an hour while trying to maneuver his 18-wheeler back to U.S. soil.
Mexican prosecutors alleged he tried to clandestinely smuggle bullets commonly used by drug cartels.