Texas man pleads guilty to trying to smuggle people in flag-draped coffin

GALVESTON, Texas — A Galveston man entered a guilty plea in federal court on charges that he tried to smuggle people into the United States using a flag-draped coffin.

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced the plea, under which Zachary Taylor Blood admitted to one count of alien smuggling.

Investigators said on Oct. 26, 2021, Blood drove a gray van to a Border Patrol checkpoint near Falfurrias, Texas. When officials asked Blood what he was transporting, prosecutors said he replied, “Dead guy, Navy guy.” Officials were suspicious because “the coffin was in poor condition and the American flag was taped to the top with packing tape.”

Upon further inspection, agents found two Mexican nationals hidden inside the coffin, CBS News reported. The men admitted to paying a smuggler to get them into San Antonio. After crossing the river into the United States, they met Blood in a parking lot, where he was waiting for them and had them hide in the coffin.

Blood faces up to five years in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines when he is sentenced in May, KTRK reported.