Family demands Mexico free jailed Irving trucker

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 9:57 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 29 at 2:16 AM

DALLAS — The family of Jabin Bogan, the Irving truck driver jailed in Mexico, is growing more anxious about his welfare as the days pass.

"I want my son home! Please, let my child go," pleaded his mother, Aletha Smith, at a rally she helped organize at Victory Park Saturday afternoon hoping to convince Mexican authorities to free her son. "He has done nothing wrong!"

For nearly two weeks, Bogan, 27, has been confined to the Villa Aldama federal prison in the state of Veracruz. U.S. Embassy officials in Mexico said the Mexican government has charged him with smuggling after he was stopped driving an 18-wheeler loaded with 268,000 rounds of military ammunition.

Bogan's boss, Dennis Mekenye at Demco Express in Euless, has said that Bogan got lost and simply made a wrong turn into Mexico. Mekenye has supplied News 8 with work orders showing the ammunition was on its way legally to an Arizona store.

"It was an honest mistake," Mekenye said. "He missed an exit and found himself in Mexico with those ammo and bullets."

He said Bogan found himself at the Bridge of The Americas in El Paso and was unable to make a U-turn. GPS coordinates show Bogan was in Mexico — likely at the border crossing — for only a few minutes before authorities stopped him and searched the truck.

"He made one wrong turn, and we don't even know if he’s coming home or not," said Bogan's long-time girlfriend Tonya Davis. She said their six-year-old son, Jakobe, is anxious to hug his father and play football with him again.

"I want him to be home," Jakobe added.

Mexican authorities worry that the ammunition in Bogan's truck was destined for the assault rifles of the drug cartels. Richard Roper, a former U.S. Attorney, said Mexico is especially concerned about gun-runners.

"Mexico is very, very sensitive about the issues of guns traveling south into Mexico," he said. "It's a completely different system, and that is one of the issues this truck driver will face."

The U.S. Embassy said officials have visited with Bogan and remain in contact with his family. But the trucker's mother wants more to be done.

If convicted, Bogan could face up to 35 years in prison.

"I want my son home," Aletha Smith said through tears. "I want my son home back here on the U.S. soil — back in his mother's arms."

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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