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Truck driver accused of smuggling immigrants on top of cabbage load

Border Patrol agents arrested a truck driver accused of smuggling 10 undocumented immigrants on top of a cabbage load last week, according to federal court records.

On Dec. 17., Border Patrol agents stationed at the Sarita checkpoint say they noticed the temperature gauge of a tractor-trailer hauling cabbages was higher than the temperature the gauge was set to.

Agents say the driver of the tractor-trailer, identified as Elijah Jones, appeared nervous and after brief questioning, allowed agents to take an X-ray of the vehicle.

An X-ray of the tractor-trailer revealed there were people in the trailer.

According to the criminal complaint:

"Border Patrol agents responded to the trailer, opened the trailer doors and discovered ten individuals, all of whom were later determined to be citizens of Mexico and Guatemala illegally present in the United States, lying down on top of the cabbage load."

During an interview with agents, Jones said he picked up the cabbage load from Rio Fresh in Pharr, and left the tractor-trailer unattended for about five hours while he visited family in Weslaco.

Jones initially said he "had no knowledge of how the people got into his trailer," but later told special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that "he knew he was transporting something illegal but he suspected it was drugs and did not know there were illegal aliens in the trailer," according to the criminal complaint.

Jones faces bringing in and harboring aliens charges, according to court records.

Court records don't list an attorney for Jones, who couldn't be reached for comment.

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