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Defense says re-enactment proves Texas trucker returning to US before ammo smuggling arrest
EL PASO, Texas (AP) ¯¯¯ An attorney for a Dallas trucker whose rig was filled with ammunition when he crossed the Mexican border said a re-enactment conducted Thursday confirms that his client simply made a wrong turn and wasn't trying to smuggle bullets into Mexico.
A Mexican court allowed local prosecutors and Jabin Bogan's defense lawyer to gather with experts at the border-crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez where Bogan tried to make a U-turn. Bogan has been held in a Mexican prison since the April 17 incident, when Mexican custom officials found 268,000 bullets in his 18-wheeler.
Forensic expert Mario Gomez showed how the 27-year-old trucker wound up blocking traffic while trying to make what he called an "impossible" U-turn back into the United States. Gomez also showed prosecutors and the court photographs that he said showed the cargo wasn't hidden, as prosecutors allege. He spent about an hour with local officials and Bogan's attorney walking through the truck lanes of the bridge and inspections yard.
"This is very good for us," said Bogan's Mexican defense lawyer, Emilio de la Rosa.
Bogan claimed that his GPS malfunctioned, causing him to take a wrong turn. Mexican customs officials have testified that Bogan was trying to turn around and, when asked, showed paperwork indicating the ammunition was destined for a wholesaler in Arizona.
Prosecutors allege Bogan concealed the cargo and charged him with smuggling military ammunition.
De la Rosa said he is trying to convince the judge that Bogan had no intention to smuggle the bullets into the Mexico. The attorney said he is trying to get the charges reduced from the smuggling charge, which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, to possession, an offense punishable by no more than six years in prison or even a fine.
Bogan is being held in a maximum security prison in Veracruz, about 260 miles east of Mexico City.
America Saenz was the customs official who first encountered Bogan as he was trying to maneuver his truck into the U.S.-bound passenger-vehicle lanes and instructed him to proceed to the truck inspection zone where the ammunition was found. On Thursday, Saenz described to the prosecutor and the court official present at the scene how she saw Bogan's truck trying to turn.
In a deposition given to the judge in May, Saenz testified that Bogan produced paperwork for the cargo when it was requested that showed the bullets were destined for United Nations Ammunition in Arizona.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety records, Bogan was arrested in and around Dallas eight times between 2002 and 2007 for offenses that include theft, evading arrest, unauthorized use of a vehicle and misdemeanor assaults. According to those records, he was convicted of the crimes. His lawyer said it's not likely the judge would take those offenses in consideration.
The trucking company that Bogan worked for at the time, Demco Express, was shut down by the Department of Transportation on May 25 for repeated and blatant violations of the Federal Motors Carrier Safety Regulations regarding unsafe and fatigued driving, vehicle maintenance and drug and alcohol testing of the drivers.