EL PASO, Texas (AP) — An Irving truck driver arrested with ammunition at the Mexican border was trying to make an unauthorized U-turn when a Mexican customs agent ordered him to enter an inspection area, the agent told a judge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Javin Bogan was arrested April 17 when he tried to enter Mexico carrying 268,000 rounds of ammunition. He that he took a wrong turn on his way to a West El Paso medical supplies company. Mexican prosecutors allege he tried to clandestinely smuggle bullets commonly used by drug cartels.
Truckers entering Mexico from El Paso at the Bridge of the Americas are supposed to use a specially designated lane that leads to an inspection area. Bogan was in the lanes for passenger cars, according to Mexican customs agent America Zubia Saenz.
"I saw a vehicle blocking the lanes for the tourist vehicles, an area not authorized for cargo vehicles," Saenz said in a May 29 deposition before a judge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.
She ordered Bogan to drive his truck into the "yellow zone" where trucks are inspected. He produced documents for the truck and the cargo at her request, she said.
Two other customs agents, Federico Anaya and Adriana Ramirez, told the judge the bullets were loaded in boxes on several pallets inside the trailer. They said that while the bullets were wrapped in plastic, they were easy to spot once inside the trailer.
After Bogan's arrest, Mexican prosecutors initially said in a news release that the ammunition was stashed under the floorboards of the trailer.
Jose De La Rosa, Bogan's lawyer in Mexico, said that by showing the bullets were not hidden and that his client had all the corresponding paperwork, his hopes to persuade the judge to throw out the charge of clandestine smuggling of military ammunition. It carries a possible prison term of five to 30 years.
Instead, De La Rosa said, he would settle for a charge of possession of ammunition. That carries a possible prison sentence of two to six years but could easily be converted into a fine because Bogan has no prison record, De La Rosa said.
Bogan remains in a maximum security prison in the state of Veracruz, some 200 miles east of Mexico City.
De La Rosa said he wants Bogan transferred to Ciudad Jaurez, where all of the judicial proceedings in his case will be carried out.
Mexican political leaders have blamed their U.S. counterparts for not doing enough to stem the flow of weapons and ammunition used by warring drug cartels. In February, Mexico's president Felipe Calderon travelled to Ciudad Juarez and unveiled a billboard made out of destroyed guns that read "No More Weapons." The billboard is at the Bridge of the Americas and is intended to be seen from the U.S. side.