A Tennessee man has been sentenced to four years in prison for a scheme to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country by locking them into wooden work boxes installed in the bed of his pickup truck, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Zachery Blizzard of Kingsport Tennessee would frequently stuff the immigrants into 'coffin like' boxes which were then nailed or screwed shut, in temperatures reaching 100 degrees for the journey from Laredo to San Antonio.
"This case is a stark reminder of just how callous and brutal human smugglers can be when it comes to exploiting individuals for money.” said Shane Folden, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio. "This human smuggler used wooden boxes to transport his human cargo. It clearly illustrates how human smugglers disregard the value of life. HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to bring smugglers to justice."
Blizzard was busted when Border Patrol officers at the checkpoint on Highway 59 west of Laredo discovered two immigrants in the boxes. Several other members of the smuggling gang, mainly from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia, have also been sentenced, and another man, from San Antonio, is awaiting sentencing.