DALLAS – The North Texas truck driver freed last week from a Mexican prison who prosecutors argued was trying to transport illegal ammunition into the country says a wrong turn changed his life.
"But I never stopped praying," Jabin Bogan said, surrounded by his attorney and family on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old spoke to reporters during a news conference in Dallas. During his 7-month ordeal, Bogan says he befriended a bilingual cellmate who interpreted what some prison guards were saying about him during his incarceration.
"They called me a terrorist, said I was trying to destroy their country," Bogan recalled.
In April, Bogan was carrying a legal shipment of ammunition to Arizona. He made a wrong turn and accidentally crossed the border into Mexico. He was arrested, charged, and held in custody.
Prosecutors would later tell a judge that Bogan hid the ammunition under floorboards in his 18-wheeler. The customs agents at the scene countered that, saying they were in full view. Bogan, who maintained his innocence through the entire affair, said he had paperwork showing the shipment was legal.
He was finally freed Friday morning after his mother paid a fine. All told, it cost about $5,000 to bring Bogan home, his attorney said.
"It is with a profound sense of grace and gratitude that the Dallas community joins the members of the Bogan family in welcoming home their loved one," attorney Larry Taylor said in a statement.
Taylor also thanked the State Department, Mexican government and the El Paso City Council for working to resolve the situation.
"I'm not mad at anybody. I'm just thankful to be back home," he said.
As Bogan shared his story, his mother, Aletha Smith, was emotional.
"It was painful to hear that my son was being made to sleep on a floor, just being punished for something he didn't do,” she said. “I am thankful that my son is back home. I am just happy, in spite of it all, I am happy. I pray that no mother would have to go through the pain that I had to."
Conditions of Bogan's release have not been revealed. Bogan maintains he made a mistake when drove his truck across the border.