Texas Man Admits to Smuggling Immigrants in a Flag-Draped Coffin
When it comes to criminals, Zachary Taylor Blood is about as low as you get. He's not a murderer, but treating your fellow humans they way he did is almost that bad. The 33-year-old Texas man was found smuggling two undocumented men into the United States back in October of 2021. How he was smuggling the pair of immigrants makes his crime so much worse.
On October 26th of last year, Blood was attempting to drive across the U.S. - Mexican Border in Encino, Texas. The Galveston native pulled into the primary lane of the US Border Patrol inspection station in a Dodge Caravan modified to carry caskets. That's when he was reportedly questioned by a pair of U.S. Border Patrol agents about the nature of his cargo and destination. According to the Daily Mail, Blood's response was:
Dead guy. Navy guy.
What Blood didn't know was that the pair of agents that took such an interest in his vehicle were U.S. Military veterans. They had spotted the dented, metal coffin with an American flag crudely attached to the top with clear packing tape and zip-ties. Once agents brought out the dog (also a military vet), they knew something was up. The unnamed agents sent Blood's vehicle to a second inspection line for a more in-depth search and questioning.
Upon searching the coffin itself, officials discovered a pair of immigrants huddled closely together in an effort to sneak past the border checkpoint. Agents were able to identify the two men as Daniel Bueno-Hernandez and his cousin, Erik Ramirez-Aguilar.
According to the report, Hernandez told investigators they had crossed the Rio Grande to meet up with smugglers who promised to get them to San Antonio. After handing over a $2,000 down payment, they were guided to a black sedan - which in turn took them to meet up with Blood. That's when the pair says they were stuffed into the coffin.
Somehow, he wasn't arrested until December 28th. He bonded out, only to have that bond revoked for reportedly travelling to Dallas without court permission, failing to report for drug testing, and admitting to using illegal substances. He has been locked-up ever since.
On January 25th, Zachary Taylor Blood plead guilty to human trafficking charges in front of Judge Julie K. Hampton in Corpus Christi, Texas. His sentencing is set for May 11th where he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.