East Texas man sentenced for smuggling 98 in sealed trailer

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

LAREDO, Texas – A 46-year-old resident of Montalba has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to transport non-U.S. citizens, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Othell Corneilous Brown pleaded guilty June 28.

Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña ordered Brown to serve 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.

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.

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Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the BP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison prosecuted the case.