Laredo, Texas (STL.News) – A 49-year-old man from Gaithersburg, Maryland, has admitted he conspired to illegally transport more than 30 undocumented aliens for financial gain, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Ernest Michael Carter pleaded guilty in federal court today.
On June 3, Carter arrived at the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35, north of Laredo. He was driving a tractor trailer with Oklahoma plates. Soon after, a K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics or hidden persons inside the trailer.
Authorities sent him to secondary inspection, at which time they discovered 36 undocumented aliens inside the trailer, more than $45,000 in cash and $4,000 in money orders. Two of them were minors, according to records.
Court documents also indicate that Carter had purchased a vehicle for $10,000 cash in Laredo two days prior. He was unemployed at the time.
Carter has been and will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which will be set for a later date before U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana. At that time, Carter faces up to 10 years in prison as well as a possible $250,000 fine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance from BP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Day is prosecuting the case.