EL PASO, Texas - The Dallas-based truck driver who crossed into Mexico from El Paso with a cargo load of more than a quarter-of-a-million rounds of ammunition has not been charged, according to officials in the Mexican federal prosecutor?s office.
Normally, suspects are charged within 48 hours of their arrests, they say.
Mexican authorities say they are still gathering facts and looking for evidence to confirm his account that he crossed the border by mistake. The trucker?s boss and family have not heard from him for nearly a week, now.
?It?s getting worse by the day,? Demco Express CEO Dennis Mekenye said. ?It may be a long time before he talks to anyone.?
Demco Express truck driver Jabin Bogan, 27, was arrested on the Mexican side of the Bridge of the Americas in Juarez, last Tuesday.
The truck he was driving was carrying nine palates of high-powered rifle ammunition ? a total of 268,000 rounds of ammunition. Mexican officials proclaimed it to be one of the largest ammunition smuggling busts in Juarez history. News media in Mexico followed suit, as did several news outlets in Texas and the United States. It was not until ABC7 investigated what Mexican officials coined a smuggling operation, did a new possible explanation emerge ? this may all have been a terrible mistake.
?He took a wrong turn,? Mekenye said. ?Why can?t they see that? He didn?t do anything wrong. It was a mistake.?
ABC-7 was the first to report that our investigation showed similar findings. We were the first to obtain the work orders for the shipment Bogan was transporting from an ammunition manufactory in Johnson City, Tennessee to United Nations Ammo Company in Phoenix, Arizona. ABC-7 was the first to speak with Bogan?s boss and his family.
Mekenye says he was on the phone with Bogan when he says he got turned around in traffic at the Bridge of the Americas. He says Bogan was pushed into a lane heading toward Juarez, and was unable to turn around. As the slow traffic edged closer to the bridge, Mekenye says Bogan told him a ?cop? waved him through, and said he could make a U-turn once he crossed into Mexico. Mekenye says whether that ?cop? was a US official or Mexican official is unclear.
That U-turn never happened. Mexican officials say when Bogan crossed into Juarez, Mexican customs officials searched his cargo, finding what they reported to be ammunition for AK-47 assault rifles.
United Nations Ammo Company owner, Howie Glaser, tells us those reports are incorrect. The rounds contained in his shipment would not work with AK-47s, but are meant for sniper rifles and M14 ceremonial rifles. Possession of guns and ammunition is against the law in Mexico, and getting caught with even one cartridge can land a person in jail. Smuggling weapons or ammunition carries severe penalties.
Bogan was initially jailed in Cereso Prison in Juarez. The following day, Bogan was flown to Mexico City where he was being held by the Organized Crime Unit within the PGR, Mexico?s equivalent of the American Justice Department, according to Mexican officials.
Mekenye says he has been in close contact with the American Embassy in Mexico.
Bogan was transported from Mexico City to Veracruz, Mekenye says. He is allowed one phone call every three months, and he already used his phone call when he called his mother when he was detained in Juarez, Mekenye says.
?It may be a long time before he talks to anyone,? Mekenye said. ?It looks like it?s going to be a mess. A big mess.?