A 32-year-old man has entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
On Jan. 12, Brodrick Keith Rhodes arrived at the Freer Border Patrol checkpoint driving a semi-truck and refrigerated trailer. He claimed he was hauling lettuce, but authorities noticed discrepancies with his bill of lading. They also noted he appeared nervous and that the trailer was set to 30 degrees but with an internal temperature of 68.
At secondary inspection, law enforcement ultimately found 119 aliens in the trailer’s cargo area.
Rhodes claimed he worked for a business in La Porte, but the bill of lading indicated he was transporting lettuce from a Laredo produce company to a location in Sugar Land. The business indicated Rhodes had never been employed with them nor do they even transport outside the Houston area. The other two companies confirmed they had no record of the shipment.
The aliens told authorities they had been taken to a truck and told to get in the trailer. It soon departed and did not stop until it reached the checkpoint.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo will impose sentencing July 27. At that time, Rhodes faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a potential fine of up to $250,000. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison is prosecuting the case.