Houston man sentenced for smuggling 119 noncitizens inside a trailer
LAREDO, Texas – A Houston man was sentenced to federal prison July 8, for conspiracy to transport noncitizens.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Laredo Border Patrol Sector investigated this case.
Brodrick Keith Rhodes, 32, was sentenced July 8 in federal court to 50 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. During sentencing, the judge noted that had transported an exceptionally high number of noncitizens in his trailer. Rhodes pleaded guilty April 7.
According to court documents, on Jan. 12, Rhodes arrived at the Freer Border Patrol checkpoint driving a semi-truck and refrigerated trailer. He claimed he was hauling lettuce, but authorities noticed discrepancies with his bill of lading. They also noted he appeared nervous and that the trailer was set to 30 degrees but with an internal temperature of 68. At secondary inspection, Border Patrol ultimately found 119 noncitizens in the trailer’s cargo area.
Rhodes claimed he worked for a business in La Porte, but the bill of lading indicated he was transporting lettuce from a Laredo produce company to a location in Sugar Land. The business indicated Rhodes had never been employed with them nor do they even transport outside the Houston area. The other two companies confirmed they had no record of the shipment.
The noncitizens told authorities they had been taken to a truck and told to get in the trailer. It soon departed and did not stop until it reached the checkpoint.
Rhodes was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.