Published November 24, 2012
A Dallas trucker detained for more than a half-year in Mexico on smuggling allegations was freed on Friday and gave an heartfelt news conference in El Paso.
Jabin Bogan broke down just seconds into his address and just hours after returning to his home country for the first time since that fateful April day he took a wrong turn into Mexico.
"I really never thought I was coming back home," Bogan said, sobbing and struggling to speak.
"It's hard to be away from your family for 7 months. I didn't get a visit – barely get a phone call ... It's hard to be in another country by yourself. I was the only black, American person in that whole prison. So, it was like me against 100 other people."
Bogan, who was released from prison a week ago but later detained by immigration authorities, explained how he took the fateful route into the border country.
"When I got to the border, I asked the officer, 'How do you turn around?' He said, 'Go over the bridge and come back.' When I crossed the bridge, I didn't know I was crossing into Mexico until I got over the bridge and they told me. They said, 'You gotta check in first.' When I checked in, they said, 'You got bullets in your truck.' I said, 'I know, I'm going to Arizona.' They said, 'Well, over here, on this side of the country, it's illegal to have bullets.' And that's where everything was upside down. They took me in and wouldn't let me out. I've been in ever since."
Bogan credited friends, family and the media for his release, but struggled to thank a team of advocates he barely knows and whose work he has yet to fully comprehend.
"I don't know who did what, but I thank God for all the support I got behind me," Bogan said.
The admission delivered perhaps the only lighter moment to a news conference that hinted at ongoing fear.
When asked to elaborate on his living conditions and the treatment he received while imprisoned, Bogan hesitated and stammered.
"I don't want to say nothing, too, really -- The things I really want to say, I don't want Mexico catching on, or hearing it," he said.
Following the news conference, Bogan flew back to Dallas, where he reunited with his young son at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.