CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas—A Houston man pled guilty on Monday for conspiring to transport 14 illegal immigrants into the United States and causing serious bodily injury to a person.
Leonel Alvaro Abundis-Carreon, 22, was driving a truck filled with immigrants when one of them was killed in an accident.
Around 6:10 a.m. on February 9, 2012, Falfurrias Border Patrol agents were advised to be on the lookout for a white, Ford F-250 that was suspected of transporting people illegally.
Agents say they spotted a white Chevrolet pickup carrying several people in the cab and in the bed of the truck traveling north on FM 1538 in Brooks County.
Agents followed the truck with emergency lights and siren activated. The driver turned off its headlights and drove through a fence onto a privately owned ranch.
Authorities followed the truck’s dust cloud and located it where it had stopped with several injured individuals on the ground nearby.
A deceased person was pinned under the front tire of the truck and another was pinned under the rear axles of the truck. A total of seven people were on the scene, three of whom were airlifted to the hospital. Agents located another seven people near the scene.
One of the illegal immigrants suffered a broken pelvis, which is expected to prevent him from walking for at least six months. The person found under the rear axle suffered third-degree burns. A third man suffered an injury to his eye that required surgery.
Homeland Security agents say Abundis-Carreon admitted he was the driver of the truck and paid $125 for each person smuggled.
Sentencing is set for October 30 and Abundis-Carreon faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
He has been in custody since his arrest.