LAREDO, Texas – An 18-year-old man residing in Laredo has been indicted on charges of alien smuggling causing serious bodily injury, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Today, a federal grand jury returned the two-count indictment against Cesar Alberto Rodriguez. He is expected to appear for his arraignment before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the near future.
According to the criminal complaint originally filed in the case, on Sept. 13, Rodriguez drove a pickup truck carrying two residential air-conditioning units into the Hebbronville Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint. There, a K-9 allegedly alerted law enforcement to the presence of humans at the bed of the truck. They conducted an investigation and discovered undocumented individuals concealed inside the units, according to the charges.
At that time, the charges allege law enforcement asked Rodriguez for his identification. After handing them his Texas ID card, he allegedly put his truck into drive and sped away from the checkpoint.
The complaint alleges authorities found his vehicle in Bruni rolled over with debris scattered around it. At the scene, they found five injured undocumented individuals who were later transported to a hospital for treatment, according to the charges. One allegedly had to be air lifted to another location for further treatment.
If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of BP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.