Mexican judge cuts ammo charge against North Texas trucker



WFAA and the Associated Press

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 23 at 5:55 PM

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (WFAA/AP) — A Mexican appeals judge has significantly lessened the charge against a Dallas truck driver who says he made a wrong turn into Mexico with a trailer full of ammunition.

Jabin Bogan, 28, has been jailed in Mexico since April after attempting to enter the country carrying 268,000 rounds of ammunition in his 18-wheeler. Before the decision, which was announced Thursday afternoon, Bogan faced 30 years in a Mexican prison. He's been held in a maximum security facility in Veracruz.

The Associated Press reports his attorney believes Bogan will be able to perform community service or pay a fine as punishment. The new charge, downgraded from trafficking to possession of ammunition, carries a maximum six-year sentence. 

Emilio de la Rosa, said he will advise his client to plead no contest so he can push for his release.

"We've given this guy back 30 years of his life," de la Rosa told The Associated Press.

Bogan has maintained that his GPS malfunctioned and he took a wrong turn, which put him on the Bridge of the Americas with a truckload of weaponry. About two weeks after Bogan was arrested, the 28-year-old’s boss provided News 8 with work orders showing the load was being legally delivered to an Arizona store. 

“It was an honest mistake,” Dennis Mekenye, Bogan’s boss at Demco Express in Euless, told News 8 reporter Jonathan Betz in April. “He missed an exit and found himself in Mexico with those ammo and bullets.” 

In June, the Associated Press reported all truckers entering Mexico along the Bridge of the Americas must use a designated lane that leads to an inspection area. 

Bogan’s vehicle was in the lane for passenger cars, Mexican customs agent America Zubia Sanz said in a May 29 deposition before a judge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. He was arrested despite possessing cargo documents that showed they were destined for an Arizona whole seller, his attorney said.

Mexican customs agents testified in court that Bogan was trying to make a U-turn back into the U.S. when they discovered the ammunition, which was visible in the trailer. The prosecution argued that Bogan hid the ammo under his floorboards. 

In July, a judge ordered a reenactment of the arrest. Bogan’s mother and attorney told News 8 reporter Brad Watson that the staging would show her son simply made a wrong turn. 

"The judge can see that he was telling the truth from day one," Bogan's mother, Aletha Smith, said then. "There was nothing hid." 

De La Rosa said surveillance footage captured at the border shows Bogan blocking several lanes of southbound traffic for more than half an hour while trying to maneuver his 18-wheeler back to U.S. soil, the AP reported. During the reenactment, a forensic expert said the U-turn would be "impossible."

Customs agents at the border told Bogan to turn around, but he was stopped and arrested in the process.

A message left with prosecutors was not immediately returned Thursday.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)