Tennessee State Trooper Detects Human Smuggling During I-40 Traffic Stop
NASHVILLE --- A routine traffic stop made earlier this week by a Tennessee state trooper in Knox County led to federal human smuggling charges against a Texas man.
Trooper Jonathan Scott on November 11, spotted a Ford Expedition with an improperly displayed registration traveling east on I-40 in Knox County. Trooper Scott attempted get behind the vehicle, but the driver made several evasive maneuvers. Trooper Scott eventually stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Noe Guevara, 39, of Houston. Five female and two male passengers from El Salvador, raging in ages from 11 to 24, with no relation to each other or Guevara were also inside the vehicle. Guevara denied knowing any of the passengers and told Trooper Scott he was taking them to the White House to get their “papers.” Guevara consented to a search of his vehicle in which several Western Union wire receipts were located. Also during the investigation, Trooper Scott found that Guevara had more than $1,500 in United States currency on his person, along with other indicators that the vehicle had been used in human trafficking.
Trooper Scott notified federal Homeland Security Investigations, which sent agents to the scene and took Guevara into federal custody on human smuggling charges. Arrangements were made for the passengers to be picked up by family members living in the United States.
This is not the first time Trooper Scott has made a stop related to human trafficking or smuggling. In 2012 while patrolling a stretch of I-40 in Cocke County, Trooper Scott stopped a driver for a traffic violation, and after observing several indicators of criminal activity, apprehended the female driver who was charged with sex trafficking of three young women from North Carolina. Those women were also safely reunited with their families.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.