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Galveston man pleads guilty after trying to smuggle undocumented immigrants into Texas in flag-draped coffin

Federal investigators say when Border Patrol agents asked what was inside the casket, Blood replied, "Dead guy, Navy guy."

HOUSTON — A Galveston man has pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle undocumented immigrants into Texas in a flag-draped coffin, U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced Tuesday.

Zachary Taylor Blood, 33, was arrested at the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint back in October after the coffin was searched.

Federal investigators say he was driving a gray van modified to transport caskets. When they asked what was inside, they say Blood replied, "Dead guy, Navy guy." 

They were suspicious because the casket was in poor condition and the American flag was taped to the top with packing tape. They searched it and found two Mexican nationals hidden inside.

The two men admitted to paying a smuggler to get them to San Antonio, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. They said after crossing the river into the United States, they were taken to a parking lot where Blood was waiting for them. He told them to get into the coffin and began driving north.    

Blood will be sentenced in May and faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.  

He will remain in custody pending that hearing.