Mexican Federal Magistrate Víctor Manuel Flores Jiménez, this morning, announced his decision to reduce the charges against Jabin Akeem Bogan from smuggling to simple possession of ammunition, a move sought by Bogan’s Mexican defense attorney, Emilio de la Rosa.
On April 17, Bogan was caught with 268,000 rounds of NATO grade ammunition in his trailer destined for an ammunition dealer in Phoenix Arizona when he crossed the Bridge of the America’s in El Paso Texas, “by accident”, or because “his gps misled him” or “a border patrol officer told him to do it”, depending on which version you choose to believe, and found himself under arrest in Mexico for smuggling.
Bogan was taken to Mexico City to the offices of the organized crime squad where Mexican media reported he made a statement to authorities claiming he was supposed to meet two men in Juarez with the load. That allegation, in addition to his claim that a US border official told him to go into Mexico to turn around has never been proven.
Since his arrest, Bogan has been a guest at the Villa Aldama Federal Prison in the state of Veracruz Mexico.
With the Judges decision this morning, the potential for a 30 year sentence for smuggling the ammunition is off the table. The charge of simple possession of ammunition in Mexico carries a penalty of from 2 to 6 years in the Federal penitentiary. Bogan’s attorney, Emilio de la Rosa has indicated he will advise Bogan to plead “no contest” to the charges at a future hearing so he can push for his release with only a fine or community service. One can’t imagine Bogan doing anything other than hot footing it for the border if released, much less paying a fine or doing community service.
In our opinion, this is a fair and just decision even though in many of our minds, it is simply “impossible” to end up in Mexico accidentally, and with Bogan’s extensive criminal record in Texas, including a 2002 conviction for aggravated robbery in Bexar County, for which he is still under probation, something still feels a little hinky here.
There are still those out there that claim Mexico has no right to enforce it’s laws against an American citizen and those saying that are simply wrong. This decision this morning also shows the great strides Mexico has made in reforming it’s justice system. No longer the model of corruption it was for years, the Bogan case is showing how Mexico has moved into the 21st century in it’s reforms.
Years ago, Bogan would have been beaten and tortured into signing whatever “confession” the prosecutors chose to give him, summarily convicted and locked away and forgotten. Today’s generation of Customs officers such as America Saenz, the first Mexican official to have contact with Bogan, and whose testimony to the facts of the contact and arrest had much to do with today’s decision are the new face of Mexican law and justice.
It took four months to get to this point in the process. I’m predicting another 4 months before the trial judge makes his decision on the sentence. The fact that Bogan had the ammunition on his trailer is enough to convict him of “possession” under Mexican law. All that remains now is the Judge to decide on an appropriate sentence.
We’ll keep you updated as new facts emerge