A U.S. trucker whose wrong turn landed him in a Mexican prison has found support for his story in some interesting places: Mexican customs agents and the El Paso City Council.
On June 19, council members unanimously approved a resolution urging the two nations work to free Jabin Akeem Bogan, who’s been incarcerated in a Veracruz federal prison since April 17.
The Demco Express driver’s cargo of 268,000 rounds of ammunition from Johnson City, Tenn., was destined for United Nations Ammo in Phoenix, according to supervisor Dennis Mekenye. The 27-year-old Dallas resident was headed to a third stop in El Paso before his final destination when he missed his exit and landed in a lane designated for Juarez, Chihuahua.
Bogan, who had been a Demco Express driver for three years, asked a Bridge of the Americas official for help, who instructed him to drive straight, do a U-turn and return to Texas.
When he attempted to do so, Mexican federal officials searched his truck. Later, a Mexican federal prosecutor charged him with “clandestinely introducing arms into Mexico used exclusively by the military,” which carries a 30-years prison term.
Council members reviewed case testimony and evidence, including Mexican customs agents’ preliminary investigation. That indicated Bogan’s truck was positioned just before the Juarez entry lanes and that he was trying to return to Texas through a non-authorized route.
Federal Judge Carlos Miguel Garcia Trevino of the 5th Judicial District, Chihuahua, echoed that conclusion May 14.
Three additional Mexican custom agents swore under oath before Trevino that the cargo was on open pallets and covered in plastic, yet another indication the trucker was not attempting to smuggle the ammo.
A Texas congressman, an online petition and a website, www.freejabin.com, have rallied support for releasing Bogan.