April 20, 2012
A truck driver took the most wrong turn of his life Tuesday while hauling nine pallets of ammunition, which took him onto Mexican soil and landed him in hot water with the border agents.
In an interview with the El Paso Times
, 27-year-old driver Bogan Jabin Akeem was shipping the ammo from Tennessee to a retailer in Phoenix when he took a wrong turn after stopping in El Paso, Texas, said his boss, Dennis Mekenye, owner of Demco Transportation in Dallas.
The wrong turn, made just before the final stretch to Arizona, instead took Akeem across the Bridge of the Americas, an international bridge spanning the Rio Grande, connecting El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
Akeem immediately realized his mistake, Mekenye said, but could not turn the truck around on the bridge and was forced to cross the border. When he tried to re-enter the United States, Mexican authorities informed him they needed to inspect the trailer. He was detained after authorities discovered the pallets; it was unclear whether Akeem had declared the cargo, valued at $100,000, to the authorities.
A representative for the Phoenix retailer, United Nations Ammo, said some media outlets had claimed the ammo -- reportedly designed for AR-15s and AK-47s -- was meant for cartels, but replied that couldn't be further from the truth.
"All the media was calling it cartel ammo, but we paid for that ammo, it's really our property. In no way whatsoever was that ammunition ever supposed to go to Mexico," he said. "We ordered this ammunition, and it's ammunition meant to be sold in the United States of America for legal hobbyists, legal shooters and legal enthusiasts."
Akeem will remain in the custody of Mexican federal authorities until a court determines whether to proceed with a criminal trial. Upon the arrest, authorities have 48 hours to decide whether to proceed with an investigation, for which Akeem could be transported to Mexico City.
Akeem has been an employee of Mekenye's for two years, his employer said, and a criminal background check did not turn up any convictions or other legal hang-ups.