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Man pleads to trafficking people who entered US illegally

December 11, 2020 GMT

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A Texas man has pleaded guilty in federal court to taking a van of people who lacked permission to enter the U.S. from Texas to three eastern states, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia said.

Daniel P. Bubar, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said in a news release that Gary Donel Smith, 30, of McKinney, Texas, pleaded guilty on Thursday. He is scheduled for sentencing on April 5, 2021.

The passengers paid $14,000 for a smuggling service to enter the U.S., and Smith was to be paid for his services after he returned, prosecutors said

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On Feb. 9, Smith picked up passengers in Dallas, but was involved in a traffic accident the next day in Wythe County, Virginia. Responding law enforcement officers found one juvenile and five adults who were from Ecuador and El Salvador.