Man Found Guilty of Smuggling Mexican-Nationals in Phony Veteran Coffin


U.S. Customs and Boarder Patrol | Image by Propublica.org

A Galveston, Texas man has pleaded guilty to human smuggling and transportation charges within a Corpus Christi federal court.

He now faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

 According to court records, Zachary Taylor Blood, 33, was arrested by agents on October 26, 2021, upon arriving at the United States Border Patrol Immigration Checkpoint near Encino, Texas.

Within the grey Dodge Caravan driven by Blood, a “rusty and dented” coffin was identified: an American flag was “crudely taped on the coffin with clear packaging tape and zip tied on one corner.”

Upon inquiry of the mysterious cargo, Blood responded: “Dead guy, Navy guy.”

The canine handler on duty was dispatched.

He advanced the vehicle to secondary inspection for a more thorough investigation.

Mexican-Nationals Daniel Hernandez-Bueno and Erick Ramirez-Aguilar (cousin of Hernandez-Bueno) were discovered to be the dual occupants of the coffin disguised as a deceased U.S. military veteran.

Hernandez-Bueno reported an initial payment of $2,000 to ultimately arrive in San Antonio, where he “would have to work off the remaining [$4,000] debt.”

Blood will remain in custody for human smuggling until his May 11 sentencing.

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