After 117 people found in truck, Georgia man pleads guilty to human smuggling charge

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A man accused of hauling over 100 migrants in a semi truck near the Mexico border in Texas has pleaded guilty to a human smuggling charge.

Jonathan Kyle Price, 42, of Covington, Georgia, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to transport undocumented migrants in a Texas federal court.

In February, Price was stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 35 north of Laredo and a K-9 alerted agents to humans or drugs inside the refrigerated trailer of his truck, according to a probable cause statement. Price told Border Patrol agents he was hauling produce, officials said.

When agents directed Price to another inspection area, he left the checkpoint by “driving erratically and bypassing other tractor trailers by cutting them off,” the probable cause statement says.

The agents stopped Price about two miles away and a K-9 again alerted them to the presence of humans or drugs inside.

Inside the trailer, agents found 117 people, all of whom were not authorized to be in the U.S., officials said.

Price, who said he had been a trucker for 18 years, told agents he was paid $25,000 to drive the truck from Laredo to San Antonio and believed he was actually hauling drugs, according to the probable cause statement.

Price is scheduled to be sentenced in October. He could go to prison up to 10 years.

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