Today marks the 40th day since Demco Express driver Jabin Bogan of Dallas, entered Mexico with 268,000 rounds of prohibited military grade ammunition and was arrested and detained by Mexican authorities.
We didn’t have much of an interest in this story until a couple of days after the event, when “supporters” of Bogan, for their own selfish reasons, began to demand his release, claiming it was all an innocent mistake etc.
Since that time, Bogan has been charged by the Office of the Attorney General (PGR) with smuggling ammunition into Mexico that is restricted to use by the military forces, a charge that could net him up to 35 years in a federal prison.
Mexican law provides penalties of 5 to 30 years in prison for anyone who attempts to bring a firearm, or even a single round of ammunition, into Mexico without prior permission. In the past, the law was enforced stringently, even in cases where the violation was accidental, such as a Texan who drove across the border for dinner, and forgot that there was some ammunition in his car. However, in December 1998, the Mexican Congress enacted legislation relaxing the law for first-time, unintentional violations involving only a single gun. Now, first-timers are usually fined $1,000, sometimes their vehicle confiscated, but not imprisoned. The exemption does not apply for military weapons or prohibited calibers of ammunition. Prohibited calibers are those above a .380 but also including 9mm and .357 calibers. This is the law Bogan has been charged under.
Our position on this site has been that Bogan made an incredibly stupid mistake and wound up in Mexico where chances are, he lied to the Mexican customs officials, a lie, which upon inspection of his vehicle and load, got him where he is today. In CEFERESO Villa Aldama prison in Veracruz state.
However, along this line of thought we’re cognizant of the fact that Bogan’s route should have taken him nowhere close to the border that would have brought him to Mexico and we cannot contemplate the incredible stupidty or arrogance of someone who could think they could “smuggle” this much ammo into Mexico under the noses of Mexican Customs and the Federal Police. Only Bogan knows the truth and it’s a truth the rest of us may never know for certain.
From the outset of this event, supporters of Bogan have claimed his innocence based on the fact he had a legitimate bill of lading for the 9 pallets of ammunition. There has never been question that the load was legal, for transport in the United States, or that Demco Express had the right to haul it for it’s legitimate end user, United Nations Ammo. None of that has ever come into question.
What has come into question is Dennis Mekeyne continually evolving recounting of events leading up to Bogans arrest. Other than Bogan mother who has spoken to her son briefly and the US lawyer, Carlos Spector hired to, come to think of it, we don’t know what Spector was hired to do for Bogan, Mekenye is the only one who has supposedly spoken at length with Bogan.
FORCED TO ENTER MEXICO BY US CUSTOMS INSPECTORS
We’ve been told by Mekenye and his supporters that Bogan wanted to turn around when he saw he was going into Mexico and claims and “unidentified official in a blue uniform” told him he had to go into Mexico to turn around. Customs and Border Protection spokesmen in El Paso noted their agency had no contact with Bogan on the day in question and if they had, they would have assisted him in getting turned around and headed in the right direction. Mekenye claims that their was no way possible for Bogan to turn his rig around on the bridge, and various “drivers” support this claim. Mexico Trucker Online is publishing photographic evidence that counters and debunks this ridiculous claim in the form of photos of the approach to the Bridge of the America’s and a gate that is for the specific purpose of allowing vehicles to return to the US without having to enter Mexico to turn around. This thoroughly debunks all the claims of those who say they too have been forced into Mexico in order to re-enter the United States.
MEXICAN OFFICIALS NEVER ASKED BOGAN FOR CARGO DOCUMENTS
This is an oft repeated claim by Bogans supporters. Allegedly, Bogan told his boss Dennis Mekenye that they never asked him for his Bill of Lading or anything to show that his cargo was a legal load. Having been in the business for the better part of 37 years, both behind the wheel and behind the desk, I’m aware that a driver will lie his ass off when he makes a mistake, especially one like Bogan who has little experience in the business, in order to put the blame for his mistake on a third party. This is what apparently happened in this case.
You see, when you cross an international border, be it into Mexico or Canada or into the United States, in a commercial vehicle, “I have nothing to declare officer” is not an option. You are asked to present you Bill of Ladings, Customs Declarations and import documents if loaded, and if empty to declare that. The US, Canada and Mexico all have some form of electronic document clearance procedures in place and the inspectors match the documents to what is scanned into the computer. If Bogan declared he was empty at the customs inspection and the officers went to verify and found the ammunition, that seals his guilt. Either through negligence, stupidity and ignorance, or a deliberate attempt to deceive the officials, he was busted.
His supporters have also alleged that Bogans lack of Spanish contributed to his arrest, a ridiculous assumption. Part of the Mexican Customs officers academy training is an thorough course in English taught during their 6 month training cycle.
WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR JABIN BOGAN
At the moment, Bogan remains a guest of the Mexican government housed in the less than luxurious digs of CEFERESO Villa Aldama, along with 25 other Americans charged or convicted of various felonies. His roomies include members of the notorious Cartel de Juarez and other innocents, and he will remain there until his case is adjudicated by a Judge assigned the case from the 5th Judicial District in Juarez. That process can take 6 to 8 months unless his appeal challenging the indictment is successful. Bogan has a court appointed attorney as provided under Mexican law.
Mexico generally charges a person within 48 hours of arrest. With Bogan, that wasn’t the case which tells us that the Mexican authorities were being very careful, very certain, before they issued the charges.
We won’t know for certain though until after the July 1st Presidential elections. Contrary to the claims by Carlos Spector and supporters of Bogan, he is not being held as a political pawn by the Mexican government. Article 41 of the Federal Election Rules prohibit dissemination of information from any government agency for 90 days prior to the election. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of this blackout. One thing we do know for certain though is that Mexican prosecutors in the PGR are very professional, well educated in the law, many with advanced degrees, something detractors of Mexico refuse to acknowledge.
Once we have full disclosure of the charges, we’ll know the intent of the prosecutors. The one thing that supporters of Bogan refuse to acknowledge is that by virtue of the 9 pallets of NATO grade military munition he had in his trailer, Jabin Bogan is GUILTY of the charges placed against him. People need to forget all the rest and concentrate on that one irrefutable fact.
Upon review of the case, the documents presented from both the prosecutor and the defense attorney, including exculpatory evidence, the judge will most likely sentence Bogan to either time served and release him, or give him the minimum of 5 years. That is the best anyone can expect at this point. We’d like to see the boy released with time served. It’s doubtful he’ll ever go anywhere near an international border in the future and if he does, it’s certain he’ll pay attention to the signs.
The 268,000 rounds of NATO grade ammunition stays in Mexico. It is also likely that the rig Bogan was driving will be confiscated having been used in the commission of a felony under Mexican law. The US does it and Mexico has every right to enforce their laws as they see fit.
Bogans future once he’s released? It’s doubtful he’ll ever drive a commercial vehicle again. But at least his mommy will have her baby back.
WILL SUPPORT FOR BOGAN CONTINUE?
That’s the $64,0000.00 question. OIn Friday, May 25, 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an “Imminent Hazard Out of Service Order” against DEMCO EXPRESS and Dennis Mekenye. The investigation was initiated against Demco on May 7, quit likely as a result of Bogans arrest. The question would be will Dennis Mekeyne continue to be as “anxious” to get his driver home as he was before? He’s got more to worry about than a rogue driver that found himself afoul of the law in Mexico.
Howie Glaser, owner of United Nations Ammo, wants his load or the money he paid for it. The load was valued at $100,000.00. And who can blame him. He’s a merchant of death, our opinion from looking at the crap he sells on his website, and I guess the big bucks take .50 caliber linked tracer rounds to bring down, but Glaser has the right to try and recover his money.
According to FMCSA, Mekenye and DEMCO Express do not have cargo insurance on file. However, an outdated “carrier pack” on their website shows $100,000.00 in coverage. That’s enough to cover Glaser’s claim, but not the other shipper whose freight was consolidated on Bogans trailer. In other words, Jabin “Wrong Way” Bogan has put his boss in some big doo doo.
We don’t know who is paying Carlos Spector for his “representation” of Bogan. In our opinion, it’s a waste of money as Spector isn’t licensed to practice in Mexico and his strategy of trying the case in “The Court of Public Opinion” may well blow up in his face. Carlos Spector is a specialist in immigration law, helping Mexican refugees gain asylum in the United States, something he is apparently very good at doing. He should stick to what he knows.
Supporters of Bogan seemed to have disappeared for now. The chest beating and threats against Mexico have declined. Ideally, from what we can tell following the stories about this case, support for “Wrong Way” Bogan is very weak. 35 comments on a “Free Jabin” website, most from family and friends, 18 signatures on a petition demanding his release. The best thing anyone can do for Bogan at this point is sit back and let the Mexican justice system handle this case. The requests and demands for Bogans release will be ignored by Mexican authorities in the same manner as the United States ignores Mexico’s demands in cases involving their citizens in this country.
More to come as this case continues to unfold.
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.