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May 11, 2022Laredo, TX, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

South Texas jury convicts Louisiana man for smuggling 52 in trailer following HSI, federal partner, investigation

LAREDO, Texas - A south Texas federal jury convicted a Louisiana man Wednesday for conspiring to transport and transporting 52 noncitizens within the United States, following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from U.S. Laredo Border Patrol Sector.

Roderick DeWayne Chisley, 47, of Monroe, Louisiana, was convicted May 11, following a three-day trial. The jury deliberated for over three hours before convicting Chisley.

According to court documents, the jury heard that on Dec. 17, 2021, Border Patrol stopped Chisley shortly after he passed through the checkpoint on I-35. Authorities discovered the tractor trailer he was driving was stolen. Upon further inspection, law enforcement found 52 noncitizens in the trailer. They were later determined to be illegally present in the country. Chisley admitted he was going to be paid $50,000 to transport the tractor trailer from Laredo to San Antonio. At trial, law enforcement testimony explained the laws governing the commercial trucking industry and about standard practices of truck drivers. The defense attempted to convince the jury that Chisley had no knowledge of the 52 aliens in his trailer. However, the jury heard additional testimony from two of the noncitizens. They described how the vehicle began moving almost immediately after they entered the trailer. It did not stop until they reached the checkpoint.

The jury did not believe the defense story and found Chisley guilty as charged.

U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña presided over trial and will set sentencing at a future date. At that time, Chisley faces up to 10 years of imprisonment and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Chisley will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Fawcett and Aaron Petters, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting the case.

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.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and 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: 05/13/2022