CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Galveston man was found guilty of attempting to smuggle several people in a flag-draped coffin that he was trying to pass off as a fallen Navy Veteran, according to U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Zachary Taylor Blood, 33, was convicted of one count of alien smuggling.
On Oct. 26, 2021, Blood was driving a grey van that transports caskets into the primary inspection lane of the Border Patrol checkpoint near Falfurrias, according to a release. When authorities saw the coffin and questioned Blood about what he was transporting, he responded “Dead guy, Navy guy.”
Authorities said they noticed that the coffin was in poor condition and the American flag was taped to the top with packing tape. Blood was referred to a secondary inspection. There, it was discovered two Mexican natives, both illegally in the United States, were hiding inside the coffin.
Investigators said the men admitted to paying a smuggler to take them to San Antonio. The men claimed to have crossed the river into the U.S. and were taken to meet up with Blood who was waiting for them at a parking lot. Blood put them inside the coffin and began driving north.
Blood’s sentence will be imposed by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos on May 11. He faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
He will remain in custody pending his hearing.