- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

LAREDO, Texas (AP) - A commercial trucker from Arkansas faces up to 20 years in federal prison for smuggling immigrants in his rig while driving through Texas.

Marcus Randall Johnston of Kensett, Arkansas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to transporting undocumented immigrants. Prosecutors in Laredo say Johnston remains in custody pending sentencing.

Investigators say Johnston on May 25 was northbound from Laredo on Interstate 35 when he reached a Border Patrol checkout. Authorities say Johnston denied having anyone hiding in the rig, but a search turned up eight immigrants from Mexico and one from Ecuador.

The immigrants were in the truck cab behind and above Johnston’s seat.

Johnston told authorities he was being paid $4,000 for smuggling the immigrants from Laredo to Cotulla (kuh-TOO’-luh), about 65 miles north.

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