Jet skis used to smuggle migrants through Border Patrol checkpoint

MISSION, Texas (Border Report) — A South Texas man has been ordered to serve four years in prison for smuggling undocumented migrants inside jet skis at a Border Patrol checkpoint, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

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Fernando Cerda Jr., 26, of Mission, Texas, pleaded guilty to smuggling five undocumented migrants inside two jet ski watercraft hulls.

U.S. Attorney Alamdar Hamdani said Cerda was apprehended at the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint where he was towing two jet skis. A canine agent alerted Border Patrol agents who found five migrants concealed inside the watercraft, Hamdani said.

The rescued migrants reportedly said “they feared for their lives while they were trapped in the jet skis,” according to a statement.

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The Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint is the largest in South Texas and on the only north-to-south highway leading to and from the Rio Grande Valley, which borders Mexico.

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