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Corpus Christi federal jury convicts Houston man for transporting Chinese national

Franklin claimed the Chinese national asked for a ride to Houston, despite not knowing any English. He also said the man asked to ride in the trunk.
Credit: CBP

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A federal jury in Corpus Christi, Texas has convicted a 45-year-old Houston man for transporting an undocumented Chinese national, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick today.

The federal jury deliberated for two hours before convicting Torrie Franklin following a one-day trial.

According to officials, on Nov. 12, 2019, Franklin drove a blue four-door sedan into the inspection lane at the Border Patrol Checkpoint located near Falfurrias. 

Upon his arrival, authorities conducted a routine inspection, at which time a K-9 alerted to the trunk of the vehicle. That is where officials found an undocumented Chinese national.

At the time of his arrest, Franklin told authorities he had encountered the man at a gas station. 

Franklin claimed the Chinese national asked for a ride to Houston, despite not knowing any English. He also said the man asked to ride in the trunk as opposed to inside the vehicle.

At trial, the jury heard from the Chinese national who said that Franklin was the person who placed him inside the trunk. They also heard excerpts of Franklin’s phone calls in which he admitted his role in the offense.

The defense attempted to convince the jury that Franklin was merely a good Samaritan just providing a ride, but the jury did not buy it.

U.S. District Judge David S. Morales presided over the trial and set sentencing for May 7. 

At that time, Franklin faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.  

Franklin will remain in custody pending sentencing, according to federal agents. 

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