Mexico releases Dallas trucker who was hauling ammo

Posted Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

Topics: Jabin Bogan, Mexico

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EL PASO -- A driver for an Arlington-based freight-hauling business who was imprisoned for seven months in Mexico, accused of trying to smuggle ammunition, broke down in tears Friday when he returned to the United States, saying he had given up hope at times.

Jabin Bogan, 27, of Dallas said he was scheduled to deliver a load of ammunition to a Phoenix online dealer in April when he took a wrong highway exit and accidentally crossed into Mexico.

Despite his insistence that it was an honest mistake, Bogan was arrested and taken to a maximum-security prison in Mexico.

"Some days I gave up hope. Some days I felt like God was, to be honest in my heart, like God was laughing. Like he was just punishing me for no reason. I felt like just giving up," he said during a brief news conference in El Paso shortly after arriving in the United States.

Bogan tearfully thanked his supporters and said that at times he felt like taking his own life or someone else's.

"I was the only black American person in the whole prison. God brought me through and I made it," he said.

Bogan was released from the Mexican prison last week but was detained by immigration authorities until Friday.

He was found guilty of possession of military ammunition and sentenced to three years, but the ruling was later commuted to time served and a fine.

Bogan was arrested April 17 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso. Bogan said he had made deliveries in El Paso and was headed to Phoenix. His boss at the Arlington office of Demco Express told the Star-Telegram the same thing in April.

Bogan said he got lost and told Mexican authorities that a law enforcement officer at the border had told him to continue driving across the international bridge.

Bogan said he tried to turn back when he realized that he had crossed into Mexico. But the layout of the traffic lanes prevented him from returning without crossing into the truck inspection area in Juarez, where his truck was searched.

He said Friday that when he acknowledged to the agents that he had ammunition, "They said, 'In this side of the country it's illegal to have bullets.' And that's when everything went upside down. They took me in and never let me out."

During the trial, Mexican customs agents contradicted prosecutors' claim that Bogan had 268,000 bullets hidden under the floorboards of his 18-wheeler's trailer.

Agents testified in June that Bogan was trying to make a U-turn into the U.S. when they found the ammunition bundled on top of wooden pallets inside the trailer.

Bogan was arrested less than 100 feet from a billboard that says "No more weapons." The sign, unveiled by Mexican President Felipe Calderon two months before Bogan was caught, was made out of seized high-caliber rifles and ammunition.

Calderon has blamed lax U.S. gun laws for the flow of weapons into Mexico.

An appeal filed in August by Bogan's lawyer in Mexico, Emilio de la Rosa, got the charge reduced from smuggling to possession of military ammunition.

That allowed Bogan to be released after serving part of his sentence and paying a fine.

The ammunition belonged to United Nations Ammunition of Phoenix. De la Rosa said the bullets will not be returned to the company.

Bogan's attorney Carlos Spector maintains that Bogan made an honest mistake.

But he said his lawyers decided not to fight the case, partly because of the potential political implications.

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