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Should Mexico Free Detained Trucker?

The interesting case of Jabin Bogan Creation Date Wednesday, 16 May 2012. Hits 2349

Should Mexico Free Detained Trucker?

I'm not sure how far this story has traveled outside of the trucking arena, so for those of you who may not be familiar with the story here are the basics. Jabin Bogan is an American truck driver who had a load of ammunition delivering at multiple stops in the southwest. While traveling from one stop to the next, he crossed the border into Mexico where he was arrested and is still being detained by Mexican authorities. The accusation being made is that he was smuggling the ammunition into their Country, and his defense is that he was simply trying to get to his next delivery and he took a wrong turn. Now one would probably guess that this is a story that would fall along Country lines, right? If you are a Mexican, than perhaps this "simple mistake" might not seem so innocent and if you are an American, you might see Bogan as a political prisoner of some sort. Nice thought, but this case is not so simple.

Both sides of this story have some serious problems. Let's face it, it doesn't make much sense either way you look at it. Inside the industry, Allen Smith has been doing a good job of following the story from the perspective of Bogan and his family. On the other hand, The Trucker's Voice has been leading the charge to keep Jabin Bogan detained and for Mexico to prosecute him.

Now the case that Trucker's Voice (TV) has been making is a simple one. You don't just accidentally end up in Mexico. This isn't something like driving to Bristol Tennessee, missing your turn, and ending up in Bristol Virginia. There are lots of signs and plenty of warnings. Any person of marginal intelligence who is doing their job with any level of alertness would be able to see the mistake they were making, and should be able to stop it before they end up in Mexico. I have delivered along the border many times, and even lived in Laredo Texas for awhile, and never did I accidentally (or purposely, for that matter) end up in Mexico. But here is why TV thinks that Bogan should not be released.

So, in the eyes of the public court, if they judge all of us on the one, their opinionations [sic] will include ignorant, unintelligent, dangerous, smugglers, illiterate, etc. Yet, people are defending him, making us look even worse. If you think that the U.S. Government isn't already scheming up a dozen new rules due to this international incident, think again. Maybe condemning him for his faultiness instead of screaming to free him might help with not having a dozen more regulations handed down.

Now let's be honest here. It doesn't take a highly trained investigator to figure out that there are a bunch of truckers on the road. Any person with marginal intellect would assume that occasionally a few bad apples slip through the cracks. Furthermore, most Americans have gotten lost occasionally, and I have been asked many times by people who are not in the industry questions like "How do you find your way all over the Country without getting lost?" I don't think that the public is going to be too harsh on us because one guy screwed up and crossed the border illegally here. Most people will be able to discern that based on the number of trucks and the infrequency of reports like this, we pretty much have a handle on not going into Mexico.

More concerning to me is the viciousness of the attacks on the Mother and the other individuals surrounding this mishap that are coming from Trucker's Voice. In a more recent article on the subject, Jabin's mother was referred to as "A drama queen" and the entire group was called liars. "They lie by acting like they have a clue of the situation." Yet in the first story referenced above, TV originally made the following claim, as evidenced in this cached version of the article.

When I pointed out that this information was incorrect, and that when properly hauled ammunition of less than 50 Calibers is an ORM-D and does not even require placards, let alone routing, this part of the article was removed. It would seem a bit unfair to me for a person to call someone else a liar because they were speaking on something they didn't know about when that individual was guilty of the same.

Any reasonable person would expect Jabin's mother to be freaking out right now. And as for his boss, how would you like to be the guy that secured the load for a driver that landed him 30 years in prison? They have skin in the game. If they seem a bit erratic and paranoid, they have reason to be.

Can I agree that something is dreadfully wrong here? Absolutely. But the line of thinking outlined her is not without some flaws of it's own. Is it possible that Jabin and his friends and family are lying, and that this wasn't a mistake? Yes, but think this one through.

  1. If Jabin is an ammunition smuggler, than why did he start making his deliveries before heading into Mexico?
  2. If he was really trying to sneak ammo across the border to the drug cartels, wouldn't it make better sense to use one of the tunnels that the cartels have built rather than driving right up to the Federales?
  3. If this ammo was headed to the Cartels, then where is their retaliatory strike for the seizure? This is common practice over there, yet they sure aren't acting like something of theirs has been taken?

I think that Jabin Bogan should get convicted of smuggling ammunition across the border because at the end of the day, that is what happened. However, I don't think it was his intention to do so, and it seems like most parties interested in this case would agree with that. So what would be wrong with the Mexican Authorities keeping the truck and the load (which they have already done) and offering a plea bargain to Mr. Bogan where he could admit his guilt, pay a fine, received time served, and head home? Is that so radical?

Some will think it is a bit harsh to make a guy who simply took a wrong turn plead guilty to smuggling, and perhaps it is. But let's face it, he did something very stupid. This is not a minor lapse in concentration, this is an egregious series of bad decisions. To not at least acknowledge that would be a disservice to anyone who may consider hiring the guy in the future. But to punish stupidity with 30 years in prison is a bit harsh, wouldn't you think? A fine and a little time in the slammer should teach him to do what responsible people do when they want to run guns and ammunition to Mexico. Give it to Eric Holder.

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