The U.S. truck driver detained by Mexican authorities Tuesday with 268,000 rounds of ammunition was transporting a legal cargo to Phoenix but mistakenly exited to Juárez, the man’s employer said on Wednesday.
Dennis Mekenye, owner of Demco Transportation Inc. in Arlington, Texas, said Bogan Jabin Akeem, 27, left Dallas on Monday with a trailer with nine pallets containing the ammunition.
The cargo was being taken from Tennessee to an ammunition retailer in Phoenix called United Nations Ammo Co. as part of a legitimate transaction, Mekenye said.
Akeem made a stop in El Paso and, before driving the last stretch toward Phoenix, he accidentally took a wrong turn toward the international Bridge of the Americas, his boss said.
“It was a mistake for him to take a wrong turn and find himself in Mexican soil,” Mekenye said. “He missed the exit, and he went south. He asked one cop there, ‘I missed my exit, how can I turn around?’ ”
Mekenye said Akeem could not turn the vehicle around at the bridge and had to continue into Mexico. Coming back, Mexican authorities told him they had to inspect his vehicle.
Mekenye said he didn’t know whether Akeem declared he was transporting ammunition or whether Mexican authorities discovered the cargo upon inspection.
“It was a legitimate movement from Tennessee to Phoenix,” said Mekenye, who also said that his company does not ship to Mexico and that he has never been investigated for shipping contraband.
The owner of United Nations Ammo in Phoenix, who identified himself only as “Howie,” said he was expecting Akeem to arrive Tuesday night to offload the cargo Wednesday morning.
“All the media was calling it cartel ammo, but we paid for that ammo, it’s really our property. In no way whatsoever was that ammunition ever supposed to go to Mexico,” he said. “We ordered this ammunition, and it’s ammunition meant to be sold in the United States of America for legal hobbyists, legal shooters and legal enthusiasts.”