Newsradio 1200 WOAI was the only station to have a reporter in the courtroom this morning when the human smuggler caught behind the Magic Time Machine transporting a load of undocumented migrants was sentenced to just over five years in federal prison.
Gerardo Carreon, 36, apologized to his family, which packed the courtroom to see him wearing prison blues with his hands cuffed at his waist.
"I didn't realize the danger I was putting the community in," he said.
A total of 56 migrants were in the back of the big rig that he picked up near the HEB warehouses off Rittiman road in June. According to his defense attorney, he was paid $3,000 to drive it to an alley near Loop 410 and Broadway. It was there that he was supposed to cut the locks on the trailer and leave some of the migrants with a different set of smugglers. Instead, the area was swarmed with federal agents who arrested everybody.
In his sentencing, Judge Fred Biery said he was lucky.
"You were very lucky nobody died because you would be looking at a lot more (time in jail)," he said.
Earlier this year, the trucker behind a deadly smuggling attempt that ended at a Southwest side Walmart was sentenced to life in prison.
This is not the first time Carreon was paid to be a smuggler. In 2008, he was busted in South Texas and did a short stint in federal prison.
"You're not very good at this," Judge Biery chided. "You keep getting caught."