ROANOKE, Va. – A Texas man, who was involved in a traffic accident in Wythe County, Virginia on February 10, 2020, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to trafficking aliens, Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar announced.
Gary Donel Smith, 30, of McKinney Texas, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today to a one-count Information charging him with knowingly transporting aliens within the United States.
According to court documents, Smith was recruited by an individual to transport a vanload of aliens across the United States. Smith knew these individuals were in the United States illegally at the time and agreed to transport them from Dallas, Texas to New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. The passengers paid $14,000 for a smuggling service to enter the United States. Smith was to be paid for his services upon his return from transporting the aliens to their destinations.
On February 9, 2020, Smith picked up the passengers in Dallas, Texas. The following day, Smith was involved in a traffic accident in Wythe County, Virginia. At that time law enforcement responded and found six aliens traveling with Smith, including one juvenile and five adults. These individuals were found to be in the United States illegally from Ecuador and El Salvador.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Enforcement and Removal Operations, and the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Charlene R. Day is prosecuting the case for the United States.