Judge orders Mission man to prison for smuggling immigrants inside jet skis

5 months 4 days 8 hours ago Wednesday, September 27 2023 Sep 27, 2023 September 27, 2023 10:59 AM September 27, 2023 in News - Local

A man from Mission has been ordered to federal prison for smuggling undocumented migrants in two jet skis.

Fernando Cerda Jr., 26, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in federal prison, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

During the court hearing, images of how the undocumented migrants were sealed in hollowed engine compartments of two jet skis, according to the release.

The incident took place on April 24 when Cerda approached the Falfurrias checkpoint towing two jet skis, according to the release.

A K-9 unit alerted officials and after conducting a search, law enforcement found five migrants inside the two watercraft. The migrants said they feared for their lives while they were trapped in the jet skis, according to the release.

Cerda will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.

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