A Fort Worth trucker who pleaded guilty to smuggling 39 undocumented immigrants in the back of his trailer has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez sentenced 34-year-old Drew Christopher Potter to 41 months in prison during a sentencing hearing on Aug. 3. Potter had pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to transport undocumented immigrants. In addition to the jail time, Potter was sentenced to three years of supervised release, according to court records.
According to the criminal complaint, Potter was arrested Sept. 18, 2015, at a Road Ranger convenience store at Highway 57 and Interstate 35 in Frio County. The complaint states that a concerned citizen called 911 after witnessing multiple people exiting the rear of Potter’s tractor trailer. All 39 individuals were later taken to area hospitals and treated for dehydration.
Potter told investigators with Homeland Security that he had picked up what he initially thought was an abandoned trailer at the request of two men who hired him via an ad on Craigslist and had previously paid him $800 on two separate occasions to drive the trailers from Laredo to San Antonio. Potter claimed that when he stopped to buy a drink at the Road Ranger, he noticed the trailer was moving and that when he opened the door, people started jumping out of the trailer. Police arrived shortly thereafter.