CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A 45-year-old South Texas man has admitted to a federal judge he was involved in human smuggling when a person trapped inside a tool box in his truck died.

Federal prosecutors say Juan Enrique Escobedo-Moreno, of Weslaco, told a U.S. magistrate judge in Corpus Christi the victim was in the small box in his tractor-trailer.

Evidence presented in court Thursday showed his truck, hauling watermelons to Houston, was at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias last October when officers found a Mexican national inside a closet behind his driver’s seat. Neither that man nor Escobedo-Moreno mentioned anyone else in the truck. Authorities later found the remains of the dead person in the toolbox.

He could get up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing set for April.

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