EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Before Border Patrol agents could finish inspecting his tractor-trailer, Jonathan Kyle Price drove off, prompting a pursuit on Feb .19.
The 42-year-old from Covington, Ga., had stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 25 near the border town of Laredo, Texas. But he took off before the inspection was complete.
Law enforcement pursued and quickly stopped him before a drug-sniffing dog led authorities to 117 undocumented immigrants inside the trailer.
In a federal courtroom on Monday in Laredo, Price pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens, admitting that he agreed to smuggle 117 undocumented immigrants past a Border Patrol checkpoint, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
Prices face up to 10 years in prison. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo will impose sentencing on Oct. 25. Price was allowed to remain on bond pending that hearing.
In the past week, authorities have accused three Texans of attempting to smuggle dozens of undocumented immigrants.
A man and woman from the Houston area allegedly attempted to smuggle 89 undocumented immigrants in a tractor-trailer past the same checkpoint near Laredo.
Agents said a Border Patrol canine alerted them to the migrants, who were sweating profusely.
Agents arrested 45-year-old Marc Anthony Bane of Porter, Texas, and 33-year-old Tara Renee Dillon of Conroe, Texas, on suspicion of alien smuggling. They appeared in federal court on Thursday.
Bane told investigators he expected to be paid $1,000 for transporting the trailer. If convicted, he and Dillon face up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
In a separate incident, authorities stopped a white refrigerated trailer for failure to drive in a single lane about 8 miles east of Laredo.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, officers cut the seal on the trailer doors and discovered 115 undocumented immigrants inside.
The driver, 43-year-old Michael Warren McCoy from the Houston-area town of Rosharon, was arrested and charged with alien smuggling.
Investigators said he expected to be paid $250 for the transport and had previously made three similar trips.
McCoy appears in federal court on July 21. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.