On Tuesday, a federal judge sentenced thirteen passengers on a bus up to three years in prison for their role in a foiled smuggling operation. The foiled smuggling operation involved moving more than three point one million dollars cash into Mexico. In September 2010, a commercial bus that was heading south was stopped at the international bridge in Hidalgo, Texas by federal agents. The United States Customs and Border Protection officers found cash in the seventeen pieces of luggage they had searched.
Inside the luggage the officers found deflated Coleman air mattresses with the cash stuffed inside. All the passengers on the bus were arrested and they admitted to being involved in the smuggling operation. They told the officials that they were going to be paid as much as eight thousand dollars to courier the money across the border into Mexico. Twelve of the passengers had been living in or around Atlanta when they were recruited. At this time they do not know what the money was going to be used for.
The sentences handed down by the federal judge ranged from time served to three years in a federal prison. Seven Mexican nationals who were convicted in the smuggling operation are facing deportation.