Houston man charged in Laredo for transporting nearly 100 undocumented aliens
HOUSTON, TX -- A Laredo grand jury has returned a nine-count indictment against a 50-year-old Houston man for a firearms charge in addition to conspiracy and transporting undocumented aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Bernard Jerome Leffyear is set to appear in Laredo federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Sheldon at 1 p.m. today. Originally charged by criminal complaint, a grand jury returned the f0rmal indictment Oct. 8.
The charges allege that on Sept. 21, authorities were working their assigned duties at the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35, north of Laredo. Leffyear allegedly approached the primary inspection lane, driving a tractor-trailer.
Agents inspected the vehicle, at which time they detected anomalies resembling human bodies inside his trailer, according to the charges.
Court records indicate he was transporting a total of 93 undocumented aliens.
In addition to discovering the undocumented aliens inside his trailer, authorities also found a black Smith & Wesson pistol. Having a prior felony conviction, he is prohibited by federal of possessing any type of firearm or ammunition.
If convicted of any of the charges, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 maximum fine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco Rodriguez 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.