a man of Texas admitted trying to smuggle two people into a coffin draped in a flag of U.S -such as those that transport the bodies of soldiers killed in combat-, the Department of Justice reported on Wednesday.
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The 33-year-old suspect, Zachary Blood, was caught in October on his way to a checkpoint aboard a “modified coffin-carrying” van near the US-Mexico border in Texas, according to the statement. by US Attorney Jennifer Lowery.
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Questioned by officers about what he was transporting, Blood replied: “a dead man, Navy,” according to the statement.
“However, the casket was in poor condition and the American flag was attached with packing tape,” he added.
Upon further inspection, agents discovered two living Mexican nationals “illegally in the United States” inside the casket, according to the Justice Department.
The two men admitted crossing the Rio Grande into the interior of the United States and paying a man to take them to San Antonio, Texas.
Blood faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
In 2021, the United States registered nearly two million migrant arrests for their illegal entry into the country along the southern border with Mexico, according to official statistics.
Migrant arrivals in the United States fell sharply during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, but picked up again in late 2020, before rising when President Joe Biden took office in January.
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