EL PASO, Texas – A Dallas trucker detained for eight months in Mexico on allegations that he tried to smuggled assault rifle ammunition into the country is expected to return Friday to the United States, his lawyer said.
Jabin Bogan was released from prison about two weeks ago but detained by immigration authorities, his attorney, Carlos Spector, told The Associated Press.
A plane carrying Bogan was expected to land in the Mexican border city of Juarez on Friday afternoon. Bogan was scheduled to speak at a press conference in El Paso, Texas, a few hours later.
Bogan claimed he was on his way to Phoenix to deliver the ammunition, when he took a wrong exit on the highway after making a delivery in El Paso and accidentally crossed the border into Mexico. He was taken to a maximum security prison in Veracruz shortly after his April 17 arrest.
The 27-year-old Bogan made two deliveries in El Paso on the day of his arrest. He said he was headed to Phoenix when he got lost and told Mexican authorities that a law enforcement officer at the border told him to continue driving across the international bridge.
Bogan said he attempted to turn back when he realized he had crossed into Mexico, but the layout of the traffic lanes prevented him from returning without first crossing into the truck inspection area in Juarez.
Mexican customs agents contradicted prosecutors' claim that Bogan had 268,000 bullets hidden under the floorboards of his 18-wheeler's trailer when he was arrested. Agents testified in June that Bogan was trying to make a U-turn back 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 giant billboard that reads, "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.
Bogan's lawyers and family have argued the charge against him was too hefty for what they claim was an honest mistake. An appeal filed in August by a Mexican lawyer reduced the charge from smuggling to possession of military ammunition. That allowed Bogan to gain his release after serving a portion of his sentence and paying a fine. He also was sentenced to supervised release, but "he can do it by mail," Spector said.