Texas police officers found 39 undocumented immigrants in the back of an 18-wheeler truck, and the dramatic rescue was caught on the body cameras worn by officers.
A federal grand jury indicted Drew Christopher Potter, 33, on Wednesday for his alleged involvement, charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling for financial gain and three substantive counts of transportation of undocumented aliens.
If convicted on each count, he will face up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
Frio County sheriff deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents responded to a 911 call on Sept. 18 reporting multiple people exiting a trailer of a semi truck parked outside a convenience store along Interstate 35 South, police said.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found Potter, and inside the trailer 28 adult males, seven adult females and four minors who were from Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico, police said. They were later transported to Laredo and are in custody with the U.S. Border Patrol, police said.
“The driver was just standing there, not a care in the world,” Sgt. Jerry Reyna told ABC affiliate KSAT in San Antonio. Reyna said he believes the group was trapped for four to five hours inside the trailer.
In the video captured by the police body cam, Potter says he was paid to simply drive the truck and that’s it.
Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson said, “HSI is dedicated to working closely with its law enforcement partners in all arenas in pursuit of identifying, arresting and prosecuting individuals involved in human smuggling.”