Eagle Pass, Texas - U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Eagle Pass South Station’s Highway 57 checkpoint arrested a Katy resident, for suspected smuggling, which led to the discovery of a local stash house, October 17.
“Human smuggling is highly profitable for criminal organizations,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “Agents, along with our law enforcement partners, work hard to combat this type of illegal activity and safeguard the lives of those who may suffer at the hands of smugglers.”
Eagle Pass South agents performed a routine immigration inspection on the occupants of a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado, resulting in the arrest of the driver, a 43-year-old male, and three illegal aliens.
The arrest brought about the discovery of a possible alien stash house in Eagle Pass. Border Patrol agents along with Homeland Security Investigations special agents, investigated a local residence, where 12 individuals were arrested, along with the seizure of 250 grams of methamphetamine, and a sawed-off shotgun. Three suspected smugglers, all Eagle Pass residents, were among those arrested at the stash house.
The case has been turned over to HSI for federal prosecution.
All smugglers face a charge of 8 USC § 1324 – alien smuggling – which carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. The smuggled aliens, all adults from the countries of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Ecuador will be processed as per CBP Guidelines.
Human stash houses are commonly used by criminal organizations to stage smuggled people in often sub-human conditions. Individuals must typically await transport to interior destinations of the United States and pay fees to smugglers. It is not uncommon to be held for weeks in small, cramped structures without adequate ventilation, running water, or sanitation. Smugglers have also engaged in robbery, rape, and physical abuse.