LAREDO, Texas — A East Texas man was sentenced to more than three years following his conviction of conspiracy to transport noncitizens inside his tractor trailer, following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of U.S. Border Patrol (BP) Laredo Sector.
Othell Corneilous Brown, 46, from Montalba, Texas, was sentenced Oct. 5 to 41 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional testimony that detailed Brown’s prior training as a truck driver and whether it assisted him in the smuggling attempt. In handing down the sentence, the court noted Brown was extremely lucky that nobody was injured or killed during the smuggling attempt as it would have resulted in a much higher sentence. Brown pleaded guilty June 28.
“As this sentence makes clear, those who exploit people might not be worth the risk,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge, Craig Larrabee, HSI San Antonio. “Those responsible for illegally moving people into and through our country place personal profit ahead of public safety and border protection. They are driven by greed with little regard for the health and well-being of their human cargo.”
According to court documents, on April 29, Brown drove a tractor trailer into the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint located on I-35. Soon after, a K-9 alerted to authorities to the presence of humans or narcotics who then referred the vehicle to secondary inspection. At that time, law enforcement had to use a metal grinder to unseal the doors and discovered 98 undocumented individuals inside the refrigerated trailer. Brown admitted he had transported several loads of people for the same organizer on previous occasions.
He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison, Southern District, Texas prosecuted the case.
For additional information about HSI’s investigative efforts, follow @HSI_SanAntonio.
HSI San Antonio continues to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of the people they exploit. To report suspicious smuggling activity, you are urged to call 1-866-348-2423.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.