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July 12, 2022Laredo, TX, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

HSI, federal partner investigation results in 2 out-of-state men charged with transporting dozens of noncitizens inside tractor-trailers

LAREDO, Texas – Two out-of-state men were indicted for conspiracy and illegally transporting more than 70 noncitizens through the Laredo checkpoint. This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the U.S. Border Patrol (BP) Laredo Sector.

A federal grand jury returned two separate, unrelated but similar indictments July 12 for Menietto Lateet Crawford, 41, of Memphis, Tennessee, and Denny Fuentes, 41, of Miami, Florida. Both men are expected to appear before a federal judge to face charges.

According to court documents, on June 14, Crawford approached the BP checkpoint north of Laredo. A K-9 allegedly alerted to Crawford’s trailer. Upon further inspection, authorities discovered 80 noncitizens in the non-refrigerated trailer that Crawford was hauling.

The following day at the same checkpoint, law enforcement allegedly found another 71 noncitizens from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. According to the charges against Fuentes, he had tried to transport the noncitizens in a refrigerated trailer claiming he was transporting “pig meat.”

If convicted, each man faces up to 20 years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the cases.

HSI San Antonio continues to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of the people they exploit. To report suspicious smuggling activity, you are urged to call 1-866-348-2423.

For more news and information on HSI’s efforts to combat human smuggling in South Texas follow us on Twitter @HSI_SanAntonio.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 07/13/2022