HOUSTON – A 22-year-old Stafford resident has admitted to illegally transporting a minor non-U.S. citizen within the country, U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced on Thursday.
Fernando Jaramillo admitted he knew the minor was illegally present in the United States.
On March 9, Jaramillo arrived at the checkpoint near Sarita. At initial inspection, authorities noticed a plastic bin filled with clothes laying on the back seat of Jaramillo’s vehicle. A K-9 alerted authorities, after which they conducted a search of the vehicle.
At that time, the clothes in the plastic bin jolted upwards. Authorities opened the plastic bin and discovered a small female child who they later determined was unlawfully present in the United States, according to the release.
The investigation revealed the minor was traveling with her mother in the United States, according to the release. Earlier that day, unknown individuals had taken them to a store and separated them. The minor did not know Jaramillo, but he put her inside the plastic bin and told her she would be in there for about 45 minutes. He also instructed her to not make any noise. She remained inside the bin until law enforcement found her.
U.S. District Judge Nelva G. Ramos will impose sentencing on Aug. 23. At that time, Jaramillo faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Jaramillo was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly K. Smith is prosecuting the case.